Saturday, February 21, 2009

Welcome To Arizona

The land of cacti, palm trees, deserts and bush. A state of very hot, dry summers and mild, warm winters. A land of NO SNOW. A land thought ugly by many, but very beautiful to this prairie girl.

I absolutely loved Phoenix.

Here is the only picture you'll see of me. I could wear sandals and no nylons and believe me, I celebrated.

Lemon trees! I almost felt like picking it!

Beautiful palm trees just outside the Phoenix Zoo.

Anyone know what this plant is? I thought it beautiful and unique.

My girl, enjoying a ride on a carousel.

Love, love, love this picture of my boy.

My "three", hiding in a cave at the zoo in Phoenix.

I love her smile.


Steve Irwin would have been proud.

Enjoying a ride on a camel.

Like I said, I loved Phoenix. Maybe it's because I expected not to, as I had been told just prior to leaving how ugly it was. Imagine being able to go to a land, mid winter (and a harsh one at that), temperatures around 20 degrees C, walk around unique landscaping, without nylons, AND NO MOSQUITOS! That is one reason alone to love Phoenix.

I still hate flying. And airports, especially the Minneapolis Airport. But if I had to endure the 12 hour trip both there and back, at least I got to be warm for a few days.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Off To Phoenix

Well, we're leaving tomorrow for a five day vacation to good old Phoenix. Dave's parents spend their winters there and we decided it was time to go. It's been an especially cold winter, so I'm really looking forward to warming up a bit.

I am not looking forward to flying, however. There is no such thing as minor incidences in the air and that does not bring me comfort. Of course, just today there was news of another horrible plane crash in Buffalo.

Chesley Sullenberger won't be flying my plane, unfortunately.

On a positive note, I am very proud of myself. Once we found out it cost $15.00 per checked in bag, I managed to pack everything for the kids and myself in ONE bag. When you're married to someone like Dave, you become creative, because to him $15.00 per bag is nothing to trifle with. We are allowed one carry-on bag per passenger, so he said he would carry four if need be (along with the laptop - !!). I will not spend five days in Phoenix with a dislocated shoulder because of carrying two carry-ons while holding onto my son's hand in the airport. However, we even managed to condense everything down to three carry-ons (plus the laptop). I'm sure I can carry one bag and my muscle-man can carry the other two and the laptop.

Anyway, I'm tired and going to bed. I won't be back in town until next Thursday.

Have a great week, everybody.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

King In The Mirror

Today the kids went to the dentist for the first time. I wanted to take them when I thought they were ready for it and Hannah was definitely not ready until now.

The office I took them to was very kid-oriented as was obvious right from the get-go. My own dentist is great with adults, but not great with kids, so I had to do some looking around for a dentist that caters to children. I'm very happy to say that Hannah exceeded my expectations and cooperated fully, even leaving the office with a smile. Two years ago this would not have happened.

Seth was a different story, but it wasn't because he was afraid. For a change, he just didn't feel like cooperating.

From the moment the hygenist called us in (Hannah went first, accompanied by her dad, and I went in with Seth after) he let her know that he didn't want her looking in his mouth. So she began the task of winning him over, and started by giving him chair rides. Making a game out of everything, she put a bib on him - which he protested about, promptly removing one side - but eventually got him to keep it on.

After showing him the suction hose and actually convincing him to try it out on his finger (I was amazed), she gave him some cool sunglasses to wear so the bright light wouldn't bother his eyes - a sure sign that this office was kid-friendly.

She then began the most difficult task of trying to convince him to open his mouth so she could look inside with the "little mirror". This was met with a half dozen firm "no's", so she asked him if he would feel better if she started by sticking her finger in his mouth instead. Seth answered with this dire warning:

"If you stick your finger in my mouth, I'm going to BITE it!"

Deciding that her finger was a necessary part of her job, she did manage to get him to open his mouth a little bit, inserting the little mirror. He promptly bit down on it. This happened a couple of times - all the while he was playing with his cool sunglasses, slightly distracted - until he gradually started opening his mouth more. The hygenist never lost even one ounce of patience with him.

Another hygenist overheard her coaxes, so she decided it would help if she brought Seth his own mirror so he could observe what she was doing.

And so the King of the World emerged. The kid was totally in awe of himself. I mean, here was this dude with totally cool red sunglasses, lying back on a bed. Being waited on by a beautiful princess, no less. How much better could things get? She had much more success hereafter because the King became absorbed in staring at himself in the mirror and for the most part was not concentrating on her. She asked him what kind of toothpaste he wanted.

"Raspberry?" she asked.

"I don't like raspberry," he responded.

"Bubble gum?" she asked.

"I don't like bubble gum."


"I don't like mint," was the typical response.

I interceded and suggested very strongly that raspberry would be the best choice, knowing his preferences. So, she began polishing his back tooth, for which he managed to sit still for about 2.5 seconds.

"I don't like raspberry."

"What kind do you like?" was her patient reply.


She went in search of strawberry, and returned with some. She began polishing his teeth again. For another 2.5 seconds.

"I don't like strawberry. I want raspberry."

I informed him, because I was losing patience (even though St. Margarite wasn't at all) that this was the last time he was getting different toothpaste. He was sticking with raspberry.

So, while the King-In-The-Mirror watched, she managed to successfully clean his teeth. I was totally impressed.

The dentist came in then and, totally relaxed now, the King cooperated for the last three minutes of his visit.

The whole visit was 45 minutes. Approximately three minutes was with the dentist, five minutes were spent cleaning his teeth, and 37 minutes were spent in cajoling, coaxing, begging, pleading, and eventual death threats. But at least he left his first visit to the dentist completely untroubled by the whole experience.

That hygenist deserves a medal.

And I need some Tylenol.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Poetry For A Princess

I did not intend to post twice tonight, but I finished my little project earlier than I thought so I decided to go ahead and post it.

I realized that I have written a couple of poems about my son, but none about my daughter. It's a silly little poem, but written with much love, and one in the "scrapbook of life" that I want her to keep forever. I want her to remember what she was like at this stage of her life, and what her mother thought of her.

Poetry For A Princess
(Dedicated to my almost 7-year-old daughter)

It struck me a little while ago
How odd it seemed to be;
That my little lass loves a lot of things
That begin with the letter "P".

Morning usually comes with a hungry girl
Who first thing when she awakes -
Gets out of bed to find her mom
To request her favorite pancakes.

Breakfast now past, she starts her chores
And begins by making her bed,
Arranging her pillows close, she exchanges her bear,
Opting for her pony instead.

After time on the bus and working on school
She then has some time for play;
She'll start with her Polly Pockets, then drag out a puzzle
Just in time to put it all away.

When it's time for lunch she'll put in a request
And anything with a "P" will do,
But she'll settle for a sandwich so long as some pickles
Can add a layer or two.

The fact is that much of the foods that she loves
Begin with that letter "P",
Such things like pizza or perogies or even green peppers,
These are just to name three.

And if you give her first choice of colors
Before you started playing your game,
It would be pink or purple - thank you very much,
Blue and green are much too tame.

She's Petunia to her mama, who loves her so much
Although many pet names will do;
She's precious, she's pleasant, she's pretty-near-perfect.....
Sweet Princess, this poem is for you.


A Time To Weep

Folks, I sincerely apologize. I have intended to leave "issues" alone for a while, and in fact, have something brewing in my brain about my daughter. However, I happened to read one of my favourite bloggers tonight, Jeff Schreiber at, whom in my opinion is one of the most balanced and factually accurate writers that I have found. He wrote an article that hurts me to the depths of my soul, and I find myself unable to just let it go.

This is not for the "faint of heart".

I'll keep my opinions to myself, although the post speaks for itself.

God bless all. Parents, hold your babies close tonight. Good night.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bedtime Stories

For various and sundry reasons, Hannah had to go to bed right after church tonight, before her little brother. Therefore missing her story.

Let's just say that she is going through a phase (I hope....) of having to have the last word about everything.

After church, in true Seth fashion, he decided to "twist the knife in deeper" and remind her a couple of times that: "Hannah, you have to go to bed without a story", getting the hoped for outrage and sharp "SETH!!!" from her, and requiring a rebuke from daddy. While she waited in bed, I read to Seth. After his story, he was unusually energetic (I usually carry the little rascal - it's a custom after all) as he bounced up off the couch, ran to Hannah's room, and informed her that we were going to come into her room to pray (instead of the other way around). Needless to say, he was pretty smug about the whole affair.

As of now, everyone (but me, as usual) is sleeping peacefully in their own beds.

Which was NOT the case last Sunday night, bringing me to my second story. After leaving the church with Seth wearing his coat backward (as put on by a man in the church) he completed the evening by walking backward to the van, continuing to do so when we got home. So it only stands to reason that the sleeping arrangements should be somewhat backward. Or different, anyway.

Seth has been pretty good lately about sleeping through the night in his own bed. However, Sunday night he came into my room at about 4:00 a.m. wanting to snuggle, so I dragged my feet to his room and laid beside him in his bed. At about 4:30 a.m. Hannah yelled for me from her room, so I stumbled there, half asleep. She told me she had a nightmare. I asked her what her nightmare was about, so she told me that, "all of my stuffed animals were put in the toilet and someone FLUSHED THE TOILET!"

Of course, my 4:30 a.m. brain understood the trauma of this completely.

She wanted me to sleep with her. Well, after laying with Seth for a half hour I had gained a kink in my neck, so I knew I was not going to do well in her bed. Her dad is usually pretty good about laying with her when she's scared, but he went to bed with a migraine so I didn't want to bother him. So, I caved in and told her to quietly crawl in with us. Within 30 seconds we were both asleep.

For about ten minutes, tops. That's when Junior awoke and realized I was no longer in his room, so came seeking me. Still having a kink in my neck and being totally unable to open my eyelids at all, I decided to make us one very happy family that night and let him crawl in with us, too.

Mom. Dad. Juniorette. Junior. For two and a half hours.

At least we have a king size bed.

And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. Luke 11:7

See. The whole family in one bed. Scripture is scripture, after all, context notwithstanding.

Yes, sometimes one must grasp at straws for some type of consolation.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Technology and Pseudo-Relationships

This video pokes a little fun at Facebook, and I find it very funny. Before I ever started blogging I joined Facebook for about a week and that was enough for me. I thought it might be nice to reacquaint myself with some old high school friends if I could locate them, but realized there was little value in being on Facebook when I was too cynical to even send a "friend" request. Within a week I realized that I was definitely not suited to Facebook.

My initial first impression of blogging was not that great either. Many of the blogs I read seemed very silly, and some of them gave entirely too much information. Over time my opinion changed because I began finding some very articulate, intelligent bloggers that consistently challenged me intellectually and/or spiritually. Enough so that I started my own, the main reason of which was to keep a diary of sorts of my children; one that I could look back on in years to come and laugh with fond memories (as well as to show them when they're older). And so it remains that about 90 percent of my posts are about them, with the occasional diversion to ranting (like this post). The two reasons I decided to be public about their lives (rather than just writing a personal diary) was to allow the people who love them most to keep up-to-date on the little day to day details, and to challenge me to improve my writing (which I have always loved to do). If I just kept a personal diary, it's quite likely that their little "dramas" would only be three lines long at most. And to be perfectly honest, the encouragement that people's comments bring is satisfying, and that is something I never expected.

I was reading just today on Brother Myles Young's blog about Facebook and Myspace in particular, which prompted this post - although it has been brewing for some time in the back of my mind. He talked about how much these things have taken away from good, wholesome conversation and "real-time" relationships, calling them "pseudo-relationships". And I agree wholeheartedly.

I understand the basic principle behind Facebook is to find long lost pals, and that in itself is fine. What I can't understand is the total absorption some people have with Facebook - thinking that their mostly superficial friends (or pseudo-relationships) want to know about every burp they experience, every mood change, or what they are going to wear to the the party on the weekend. To keep up with it to that degree requires total absorption.

Blogging can be absorbing, as well, and it's something that I have to keep myself in check about. I personally enjoy reading blogs (and don't throw rotten tomatoes at me.....) because they generally have a lot more substance. As well, the people who decide to read my blog do so out of choice, not because they.....regrettably (it's true, most of the people I know on Facebook don't really want most of their friends)....decided to "accept" my friendship.

But the biggest pet peeve I have of all is not really Facebook OR blogging. It's that world called TEXTING.

Texting is good for two things: To tell your sweetie-pie you need milk for breakfast, or to let the world know that you're safe. THAT'S IT. Never in my life have I ever seen the rudeness that seems to come with the world of texting, so much so that in the future I am seriously considering having people leave their cell phones at the door when they come to my house, or hanging a "No Texting Zone" sign. To have "real-time" relationships CONSTANTLY disturbed by the ringing of THAT THING - literally mid sentence - and to have to stop what you're saying so somebody can answer a text is the very worst in manners. To text at the dinner table is rude (so is talking on the phone - but the ratio of talking on the phone at the table versus texting is not even in the same ball park these days). At least you don't see people leaving the dinner table or interrupting conversation to check their Facebook or blog.

It's very easy, as well, for texting to become a tool that stirs up strife, more so than Facebook or blogging. How easy is it to send of a quick text to a friend or family member that you know is going to tick them off? Starting a full-scale text messaging war?

No, folks, I can't see myself ever being sold on texting. Not even for those two things. We have to be ever careful and diligent with our blogging and Facebook absorption, but we can absolutely, beyond the shadow of a doubt, live without texting.

Wonder how popular that makes me?