Sunday, September 30, 2007

Soy Sauce: It's not just for stir-fry!

This week has been good overall.  Pete and I celebrated our 9th anniversary, and gave each other a minivan.  (1st anniversary is paper, 50th is gold.... 9th must be minivan, right?)  We also went out for dinner for the first time in way too long... Bonefish Grill, which was very nice.

Thursday, though, was "accident prone" day around here.  Both Strider and Rayna gave me scares while we were out for a bike ride, each doing something dangerous in the road and "almost" getting hit by cars.  Colsen fell on his head harder than usual, and then.... Strider burned himself with hot oil all over his face!  He was cooking fried plantains for his Spanish "class" and dropped a big piece of a plantain right in the hot oil, which splashed all over him.  Not good.  The burns were getting worse by the minute, and he started to be in a lot of pain.  To make a long story short, my neighbor thankfully happened to be home and she and her daughter came over to see him... and recommended putting soy sauce on the burns!  And do you know, it totally worked!!  The pain went away within about 10 minutes, and has never returned.  Isn't that amazing??   He smelled like Chinese food for a few hours but that was a small price to pay.  Now he looks like he has a bad case of Chicken Pox all over his face.... we're REALLY hoping this will all clear up by next weekend when he's the ringbearer in Aunt Katie's wedding!

Other than that...  Well, Colsen is doing more and more "walking."  He's way more confident than he probably should be!  And now he's gotten Rayna's old push "bike" that he likes to roll around.  He pulls it, pushes it, sits on it, falls

off.... and lately, has started standing on it.  Great.







The week ahead looks fun.... Katie and Graham will be getting married in 1 week and 1 hour!  Keiko comes to town tonight, Mor-Mor and Grandpa on Thursday, John comes Saturday morning, Bud and Jane are coming on Friday night, and other relatives and friends arrive sometime over the weekend.  Lots of fun people to see!!  We're all getting excited...


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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Encouragement from Louisa May Alcott

I spent all weekend doing SAT test-type problems.  (Actually GMAT problems -- the test for business school) 

And when I say all weekend, I mean pretty much all weekend.  From 9 am until 6 pm Saturday AND Sunday, and homework Saturday night. (I was getting trained to teach GMAT courses)  So my brain is pretty fried with all kinds of "If Steve and Rob live 400 miles apart and drive toward each other, and Steve is driving 60 miles an hour and Rob is driving 80 miles an hour....."  and "What is the greatest value for m that satisfies the condition of.... <long string of exponents...>"  Sounds like a fun weekend, huh? 

It's been a very quick way to show me how much of a moron I am these days.  I couldn't do hardly any of the problems without being shown how.... and I don't know much about grammar rules either, it turns out.  And I can't do reading comprehension questions, and much to my great surprise, even though I have spent 30+ years perfecting this skill, I couldn't do much with the "Arguments" section either.  So, yes, I'm a moron.

However, I also realized that the time really went by quickly this weekend... which I guess means I was enjoying what I was doing.  I have to admit, working out a lot of the problems WAS fun.  Which I guess makes me a nerd.  But can you be a moron AND a nerd?  Sounds like an oxymoron.  (And "oxymoron" sounds like a moron who is clean, by the way)

ANYWAY, while I was spending all this time at The Princeton Review's office, I had to answer the questions about what else I "do" besides teach courses for them.  I found myself being a little hesitant to say that most of my time was spent being a mother at home to my 3 children... even though I KNOW this is a very good thing.

But then last night as I was going to bed I read a passage in the book I'm currently reading that really encouraged me.  The book is Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott (author who wrote Little Women, etc.)  The main character, a 14-year old girl named Rose, was telling her uncle, Alec, that she wanted to develop a "trade" to help support herself when she became an adult.  And this is their dialogue:

(Alec is speaking) "Well, now, there is one very excellent, necessary, and womanly accomplishment that no girl should be without, for it is a help to rich and poor, and the comfort of families depends upon it.... It should be a part of every girl's education..."

 "Oh, what is it?" cried Rose eagerly, charmed to be met in this helpful and cordial way.


"Is that an accomplishment?" asked Rose, while her face fell, for she had indulged in all sorts of vague, delightful daydreams.

"Yes, it is one of the most beautiful as well as useful of all the arts a woman can learn.  Not so romantic, perhaps, as singing, painting, writing, or teaching, etc, but one that makes many people happy and comfortable, and home the sweetest place in the world.  Yes, you may open your big eyes, but it is a fact that I had rather see you a good housekeeper than the greatest belle in the city.  It need not interfere with any talent you may possess, but it is a necessary part of your training, and I hope you will set about it at once..."

Isn't that a great description??  I was very inspired after I read that.  Mine is a noble profession indeed.

I am tempted here to put some reading comprehension questions about the passage, but I will refrain.  Mostly because I would probably get them all wrong.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Some recent stuff


Last week we went for a family hike with some friends of ours... so fun!  The kids all played an observation game (that's the cards they're holding in the picture), and afterwards the dad of the other family shared some thoughts with us about Ephesians 5:1 -- and then we all memorized it by going around in a circle with each person saying one word.  We had 11 people and 12 words in the verse, so it worked out great.  :)













Then, last weekend Pete, James and Dan went up to Virginia for Graham's bachelor party weekend.... leaving us women and children to fend for ourselves.  We actually had a fun Saturday as Mom, Karin, Ellie, Ava, Amy, and Katie all came over to hang out.  First, though, we went to watch Strider's soccer game -- he had quite the feminine cheering section!










Meanwhile, our goofy little one keeps us all entertained with ALL his moods...



TOMORROW our new COUNTERTOPS will be installed (D.V.)!!!  We're very excited to get this last element of the home improvement projects in.... well, the last one besides the new window treatments.... oh, and the new ottoman.... and the new accessories.... Well, I'm sure it will just go on and on.  As I told Pete last night, I feel like with our house we take 2 steps forward and 1 step back constantly -- or maybe it's 1 step forward and 2 steps back.  Hard to tell.  Ah Entropy!!  I was sharing my discouragement with this constant law of entropy with my friend last night and she said she could completely relate... and then said that she often thinks about how Heaven is going to be so strange to us because entropy will no longer play a part in ANYTHING!  Quite an amazing thought when you think about it.

Anyway, I hope to have some "before" and "after" pictures of our house to post soon!


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Sunday, September 2, 2007

67,432 questions later...

I decided this weekend that one of the hardest things about having Pete leave for a weekend is having to field all the questions all by myself!  These little people here ask a LOT of questions... I know I've written about this before, but it bears repeating (as does, apparently, just about anything else that gets said around this house.  The repeating things over and over is almost as tiring as the questions!).

Anyway, most of the questions I get asked are pretty simple and I can answer them while still thinking about whatever I was trying to think about (usually what we are going to have for dinner, or whether or not the bathroom door got closed so Colsen can't get in).  But all too often the questions become more brain-busting, and these are the ones that lead me to that dazed expression I so frequently sport these days.

So here are some of those brain-busters I had to deal with this weekend.  (Keep in mind I have to try to answer these questions while also responding to 1 or 2 other little voices, as well as cooking, driving, shopping, talking on the phone, studying for work, listening to another adult, emailing, etc.)

  • What letter of the alphabet is used most often?

  • Why is this yogurt?

  • What is your favorite thing?  ("not person -- so don't say Jesus!")

  • What color do you want my hair to be when I grow up: blue or green?

  • How many types of guns are there in the world?

  • Do you want to go make a crown?

  • What is the name of that movie?  (there was no context on this one... she just wanted me to tell her what movie she was thinking about)

  • What's Daddy doing in Virginia right now?

  • I want a band.  How do I get a band?

These are the types of things that just make my head hurt!

Meanwhile, the 10-year class reunion of my MBA program is this month, so many of my classmates have been emailing everyone to say whether or not they're coming, what other classmates are up to, etc.  And at the bottom of each email is always a 10-12 line signature, full of impressive sounding titles, contact methods and numbers, etc. Clearly these people have important jobs!  (And, I even found out one of my good friends from the class is the former "vice-minister of the economy" -- of Ecuador -- and now he's running for office so there are all these video clips online of him debating on news shows and stuff.  Pretty funny!)

And I can't help but chuckle about how different my life is from my classmates'.  I daresay my head must be just as challenged as theirs are sometimes, though.  Especially considering the fact that I have far fewer brain cells than they do since I've poured significant amounts of mine into 3 kids!  :)  But I do want to tell them that contrary to what they may believe, I do use many of my MBA skills in my current post.  For instance, I use the principles of the Critical Fractile model quite often in my inventory planning.  (the model deals with the probabilities and costs of understocking and overstocking goods)  And my model has the extra twist of having to sift through weekly changes in sale prices from numerous competitors (grocery stores) on top of the other constraints!

And speaking of "constraints," I find my current job has way more constraints to deal with for any given project than anything I EVER did in the business or academic world.   But that's a whole other train of thought, and my brain is still too weary from question-answering all weekend to pursue it now.

In the meantime, I'm going to go dream up some good job titles for me!




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