Friday, April 24, 2009

"Mom. You're so old".

My kids so enjoy reminding me of my antiquity. Sometimes I feel even older than they think I am, but other times I feel like a spring chicken (OK, maybe a summer chicken). But am I indeed OLD?
I've decided to make up a short quiz to help me figure out if my kids are right about me. Feel free to take it yourself to see where you rate on the age-o-meter:
1) Do you believe the waistband of your pants should be worn at your waist?
2) Have you ever thought you needed a bikini wax to wear a pair of jeans purchased at the mall?
3) Have you ever had a conversation with your friends or spouse in which you discussed fiber, gums, or your colon?
4) Have you ever had a banana seat or thought of committing a felony to get one?
5) Are you old enough to be the parent of any of your kids' teachers?
6) Have you ever uttered any of the following phrases:

* "You'll poke your eye out"
* "Because I said so"
* "You'll catch your death"
* "Turn that down"
* "No, you cannot get that pierced"
* "Not till you're 30"

7) Do you still have some old cassette tapes lying around?
8) Are any of them Olivia Newton John?
9) Do you remember watching the following movies as an annual event:

* Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang
* The Wizard of Oz
* Rudolph
* seasonal Charlie Brown specials

10)For these movies, do you remember having popcorn that was made on the stove?
11)Did you ever watch the same movie 35 times in a week when HBO first came on the scene?
12)When playing Atari Pong, did you think things just couldn't get any better?
13)Was there a time in your life when "wings" was a hairstyle term and not a maxi-pad feature?
14)Do you know the words to the elevator music?
15)Have you ever purchased anything for a penny?

To calculate your score, add up the number of 'yes' responses. If
0: What are you doing reading this, it's past your bedtime.
1 - 5: You probably still hold your breath when driving past a cemetery.
6 - 10: You've probably priced plots in a cemetery. Stop dragging your feet and commit to buying one already.
11+: Time to outfit your plot with wireless and get comfy.

Oh my God. My kids are right.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Love Your Mother

Lucky for Mother Earth, she is very "in" right now. When I took my girls shopping the other day I noticed how popular she, and her good friend "Peace" were on t-shirts, sweatpants, the backs of short-shorts, and every accessory known to teen-kind. While I know this is not much more than a fashion trend, I can't help getting excited because I know that any press is good press. The more people are bombarded by images of Earth, nature, green, peace, the more we will benefit, both locally and globally.
In fact, all this buzz about going green has gotten me to examine my life to see if I could be doing things a little more eco-friendly. And you know what? I found that by tweaking a few small things here and there, I can make a difference. It's a minuscule difference, given that I'm one of about 6 billion people in the world, but it's a difference nonetheless. And if the 2.3 people who read this blog can also make a small change, well then I've done something here, haven't I?
With that in mind, here is a short list of simple things you can do to make this world a more habitable, sustainable, everyone-hold-hands-and-sing-kumbaya - able kinda place:
Do Something Drastic, Cut the Plastic
Buy yourself a bunch of those canvas bags and keep them in the trunk of your car. Whenever you go shopping use these in place of the plastic grocery bags for bagging your food. Keep one or two folded up in your purse for times when you run into a department store but forgot to bring your bags with you. I estimate that by using canvas instead of plastic, I will keep about 1000 plastic bags out of our landfills and oceans every year. If you want more info on how harmful plastic bags are to our world, check this out:
Just Say No To Disposable Plastic Water Bottles
About a year ago I decided I was throwing my money away buying plastic water bottles when I have water flowing like water from my kitchen tap. My hat is off to the guy that got the world to fall for that one. Not only is it a waste of money, but those bottles are a HUGE problem that won't go away. Remember all the trash that Wall-E had to clean up? That's what's coming if we keep piling water bottles in our landfills. Plus now they're saying the bottles have some kind of chemical that gives you some kind of cancer of some kind of organ, and who needs that? If you're thinking to yourself that you can't live without water bottles, go back in your mind to when you were a kid. What did you do when you got thirsty? Filled a glass at the tap? You can do that again, I promise. When I was a girl, I don't remember the streets being filled with people who dropped dead of dehydration. When we were thirsty, we got a glass of water, no big deal. For times when we're out at a sports activity or we're taking a roadtrip, I have bought water bottles from Wal-Mart that are dishwasher safe. That's right, they can be used more than once! You think your kids need to drink the bottles of vitamin water you buy them? Here's a thought, give them a vitamin and a glass of water. NO MORE PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES!
Buy Fresh, Buy Local
By buying food that is in season and produced locally, not only do we support local farmers, but we cut back on how much food is transported by diesel-fed behemoths across the country. So wait till spring to eat your asparagus, and then buy it from a farmer's market or look for a "locally grown" section in your produce aisle. No need to be eating fresh asparagus in January that's been imported from Chile.
Reduce the amount of stuff you buy and clutter up your home with, because eventually you'll get tired of looking at it and want to throw it away (I'm talking about impulse purchases, not spouses).
Before you throw it away, ask yourself if it can be "repurposed". Ricotta cheese and Cool-Whip containers make great Tupperware. Old school worksheets can be cut into quarters and used as scratch paper for taking phone messages. Pause before you pitch and see if you can get creative.
Recycling. Just do it. Don't doom your cardboard, paper, glass and plastic to a life in the landfill. Give them new life by tossing them in your recycle bins. Who knows what they'll be reincarnated into?
Stop the Stuff
Remember when I said you eventually get tired of looking at the stuff you buy and it ends up in the trash? Wow. You were paying attention.
That's the problem with 'stuff'. We all have way too much of it and it ends up in a landfill because it's too small, too old, too last-year, too boring or broken. So first, stop buying so much crap for yourself, your house, your kids, because you just don't need it. Second, come gift-giving time, instead of buying stuff to give someone, consider some alternatives:
*A donation in their name to a charity like Heifer International, Habitat for Humanity, Nothing But Nets, etc. There are a million good causes out there in desperate need of funds and there are countless gifts we have to give throughout the year. So let's kill two birds with one stone here.
*A gift of something to do out in the wide world such as gift cards to the movies or miniature golf, a family membership to a zoo or museum, a pottery class or pony rides.
Get up. Get out the door. Live life. Discover our world.
It's a good place.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

3 Months Down, A Lifetime To Go ...

Today marks the day that James and Julie have been home with us three months.

Jan 9th: picked up two Russian-speaking children from the airport. One had recently finished getting sick on the airplane but was all smiles and bounce. The other wore a reserved smile.
April 9th: Two English-speaking children with thick Russian accents run around my house alongside their brothers and sisters and a few friends that are over. They are both all smiles and laughter. They pitch in with chores as well as complain about them. They laugh and play, but they also squabble. James will eat anything but Julie's a bit picky. They're as different as night and day, but they're more alike that they would ever admit. They have cracked the shell enough that I have an inkling of the trauma they've experienced in their lives, but the time has not yet come for them to crack it wide open and cry on my shoulder about it. When they're ready, I'll be here for them. I'll be here the rest of their lives ....

Sunday, April 5, 2009

From Detsky Dom in Ust-K to My House in PA

It's kinda giving me goosebumps, but the 4 kids in the picture above all lived together in the Detsky Dom (Children's House) in Ust-Kamenogorsk Kazakhstan years ago. And here they are standing in my kitchen. The blonde girl is Bella's friend from the Detsky Dom and were adopted about 2 mths apart and now live about an hour and a half away from each other.
Isn't it a weird, strange universe?

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