Saturday, May 31, 2008

I Am ...

Thanks to Tiffany over at I offer up this:

I am: Holly. Woman. Mom. Wife. Friend. Real estate Broker.

I think: best at night when the house is still and quiet.

I know: things are as they should be in order to become what they must be.

I want: peace and security.

I hate: injustice, and disgusting table manners.

I miss: close friendships gone by.

I fear: bees and heights.

I feel: warm and soft with looming areas of dryness.

I hear: my two youngest daughters playing in the backyard, and the saltwater fish tank noises.

I smell: pretty good right now, and I also smell nothing but the boogers inside my stuffy nose.

I crave: peace and security.

I search for: peace and security. And Janie's Pink Buppie. Where COULD that thing be??

I regret: anything I did to hurt friendships and relationships that I value.

I love: firmly and forever.

I ache: for loss and pain felt by anyone.

I care: more than anyone knows.

I always: wish to do better than I actually do.

I am not: athletic in any way.

I believe: with all my heart.

I sing: better than most people, and I annoying let all the songs inside my head out on a regular basis and I sing with the car radio.

I cry: when anyone around me cries, when a child is hurt, and also when I am really happy or something touches my heart.

I fight: for those I love.

I win: most verbal arguments. But, I never wish to argue.

I lose: friendships that I highly value, and I cannot seem to win them back, and so I sadly move on.

I never: say “never.”

I listen: to my kids and really try to understand.

I can usually be found: when needed.

I am scared: to fail. To succeed. To not act. To act.

I need: peace and security.

I am happy about: small things. And happy I can see them.

I hope: to continue to ACTIVELY WORK toward peace and security for myself and my family.

Now, it is your turn to post your own answers on your blog. And, tell me where I can read your answers.


I never know whether to comment back to the Comments left on my blog. What do you think?

And, I always want MORE Comments, but only Google account holders are allowed to comment here because I am afraid of Anonymous Commenters. I have seen the negativity that their posting creates on other blogs. Being able to hide behind a wall of anonymity creates a type of bravado in people that can be truly evil. So, I will not allow that here.

I read all my Comments and I reply to you inside my head. LOL!! :-)


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Busy end of school year

"We’re fools whether we dance or not; so we might as well dance." - - Japanese Proverb

I'm dancing as fast as I can. I took some time yesterday and put all the notes, flyers, memos, emails, etc. that contained family member scheduling items into my main schedule -- and I got dizzy from it all. LOL! The last 2 or 3 weeks have held a lot for our family:

End of school for preschool (Jane and Irene). Two parties at preschool (Jane and Irene - mom went to one and dad went to the other). End of Chinese school (two parties there, too. This involved the whole family.) LandSharks Running Club end of Spring Track and final meet of the year (Chris as Coach and May as Runner, with Jane, Irene and Mom as cheerleaders/observers). All day fire fighting class for two days (Chris). All day Ethics class (Holly). Half day Orientation class (Holly). (Please ask me how many Orientation classes I have taken over the years! Every time I join or rejoin a REALTOR Association, I am required to take this class. They give you a lapel pin at the end of the class, with the REALTOR "R" on it. I rounded up all my pins and wore them ALL to the class. LOL! I have 5 (now I have 6). Appointments with clients (Chris and Holly - not together). IB (International Baccalaureate) night at school (May and Chris went, but Mom was heavily involved). Wax Museum night at school (May performed with our keyboard piano as Sarah McLachlan and the whole family attended). Kindergarten registration, orientation, preparation (Irene is the student, but Mom and Dad were most involved in this). ESL (English Second Language) testing prep, discussion, and preparation (Irene - but Mom was most involved. This will begin for Irene and Jane in the fall). IEP (Individual Education Plan) discussion (for Irene, but Mom did the stuff). Attachment Support Group (Holly). Final spelling test and last of the reading log (May, with involvement from Mom). Mother's Day stuff (Mom and everyone). Church nursery volunteering (Holly). Essay contest for "Be Kind to Animals" - sponsored by Gigi's in Manitou Springs (May wrote a great essay and the whole family went to deliver it to the shop. May won Third Prize!). Announcement of May's third prize showing in the contest (they announced it over the PA system at her school! Very cool! She also got to visit the shop and select $15 of free gifts. She chose a stuffed cat that looks like Cuddle and another that looks like Snuggle - her two cats.) Bike Rodeo at school (May participated and Chris volunteered). Field Day at school (May participated and Chris volunteered/attended as Dad). Extremely delayed hair cut and color appointment (Holly). Awards Ceremony (May - this is today, so I am not sure what she is being awarded. Stay tuned.) Volunteer breakfast at school (Chris and Holly are invited - one will go. This is tomorrow.) May's last half day of school (tomorrow! Mom will go to her party with her.)

There is more. But, you get the jist of it.


Did I mention helping real estate Buyers and Sellers?? That's my constant thing.

And, Chris seems to have morphed into a furniture refinishing guy lately. This is fine! Perhaps this side of his business will grow more? Cool!

ANYWAY -- our family is busy.

Look for future blog entries devolted to (at least) Field Day, Running Club, Preschool Parties, Chinese School, IB Night, Wax Museum Night, Award Ceremony, and more. :-)

Gotta run!

This is May at Field Day. Does this girl look like she is coming off the blocks, or what??! Very cool!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Janie will be a BIG SISTER!!!!!

Conversation with Janie yesterday:

Janie: I'm gonna be a BIG SISTER!! (jumping up and down with joy)
Mom: Um ... what makes you think that? (heart stuck in throat from fright)
Janie: I'm gonna eat a lot and GROW BIG!! Then, I will be a BIG sister!!
Mom: (laughing) Yes, you will. (sigh of relief)
Dad: That's one for the blog.

Did I scare you guys?

Several of the teachers and parents at school have asked me if we are going to China again this summer. NO! We are NOT. I told them that I have only gone to China to add children to my family. And, I am not ready to add more! (gasp) LOL!!

But, I have to tell you ... if Life somehow allows in the future ... those two sons of mine are still calling to my heart.

The way the rules are going with adoptions in China, though, I don't think it will happen. I want my children to have a shared birth heritage, and I cannot currently see a way where our LifeAndRecentComplications and China's rules can somehow come back together in time for us to add two more before I "age out" at 55.

BUT, I sure do love my 3 daughters. No matter if they are BIG sisters or LITTLE sisters. LOL!

Here are my two sweet little princesses playing and lovin' on each other.
And, their big sister, who is also my sweet princess. May was dressed up in a Chinese dress for IB Night at school Wednesday evening. (More about that later.) There was another girl (blonde, blue eyes) dressed in Chinese clothing. Figure the odds that two girls in the same school would show up in EXACT matching dresses!!??!! Too weird! I wonder if she got her dress at Sherry's in Guangzhou, too??

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Half the Sky's Children's Earthquake Fund

Many people have asked me if the horrible earthquake in China (and strong aftershocks) are near where my 3 girls were adopted. No - they are from Jiangxi province, which is in the southeast part of China. The earthquake is in Sichuan and Chongqing. This is in the southwest part of China.

Here is a map (for Americans - think of provinces as states):

You can see my girls' province (Jiangxi) (roughly pronounced "gee yong she" only faster and as two syllables. Hard for me to describe.) down on the right (pink) and the provinces of Hubei (roughly "who bay") and Hunan (roughly "who nan") between Jiangxi and the earthquake province.

I was going to also post a photo from the news feeds of the earthquake, but my heart cannot take looking at those photos. There is such destruction. Such loss and suffering. I cannot bear it. A large part of my heart remains in China, and I will always feel "at home" there.

If you are looking for a way to help the people located in the earthquake area, I can highly recommend the very reputable organization called Half The Sky. Here is a paste of a message that went out to friends of Half The Sky (of which, I am one):

Hello again,

During the past several hours Half the Sky has been working hard to get more information about the children impacted by the Sichuan and Chongqing earthquake. We know that it is not only children in welfare institutions who are in trouble. We know that hundreds of children have been separated from their families, have lost their parents, are hurt, traumatized and in pain. We know we must help; we have been working to figure how best to do so.

We have just a little bit of news. There have been hundreds of aftershocks, one reported to be as strong as 6.0. Children have again been evacuated from the Chengdu institution. Relief workers have arrived in the epicenter, Wenchuan. The Ministry of Civil Affairs (this is the ministry that HTS works with and also the agency responsible for disaster
relief) has been unable to reach orphanages in the most affected areas:
Mianyang, Zitong, Deyang and Aba. There are other welfare institutions in the affected areas but no others that house children. Each of the four institutions above houses about 100 children. We believe they will need help. We will continue to watch and wait.

Many of you have asked us to set up an emergency relief fund, like we did during the winter storms. Given the nature of this disaster and the fact that help for children may well be needed outside welfare institutions (where we have a direct line) we have waited to set up such a fund until we had absolute assurance that we could put a system in place to deliver the aid where it is most desperately needed.

Half the Sky takes the designation of a donor-restricted gift seriously – that’s our promise to you. We understand that when you make an emergency donation, you put your trust in us. We have spoken very carefully about this with our colleagues at the Ministry of Civil Affairs. We now have their promise as well.

In cooperation with the ministry, we have now set up the Half the Sky Children’s Earthquake Fund. Your donations to the fund will be used to provide emergency and long-term relief to children affected by the disaster. Relief will include emergency shelter, food, and medical care for children orphaned or separated from their families. It will include temporary or long-term foster care or, when necessary, temporary institutional care.

We have a commitment from the ministry that we will receive regular updates on the use of funds and, most important, the well-being of the children.

Within a few hours we will have available a dedicated donation site. In the meantime, if you wish to make a gift to aid children in Sichuan and Chongqing affected by the quake, you may donate through our website, Please note that your gift is for earthquake relief.

I will give you more information as I receive it. Please don’t write to ask about the situation in specific locations. I will tell you everything I know.

Thank you for caring so much about the children.

with love,
Jenny Bowen
Executive Director
Half the Sky Foundation

Half the Sky was created in order to enrich the lives and enhance the prospects for orphaned children in China. We establish and operate infant nurture and preschool programs, provide personalized learning for older children and establish loving permanent family care and guidance for children with disabilities. It is our goal to ensure that every orphaned child has a caring adult in her life and a chance at a bright future.

Want to receive our free Half the Sky newsletter, full of stories and photos, via regular mail? Just go to our website and click on "Join our Mailing List."

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day

So. I was up late making lots and lots of potato salad to take to a picnic at my oldest sister's house. I volunteered in our church nursery and only had ONE child to take care of! He is about 18 months old and is delightful. We played and played and played! He LOVES trains. I swear I got "into the zone" by moving the little train around the wooden track so much and saying, "Chugga chugga! Woo! Woo!!" It was totally relaxing. We lay on the floor and built towers out of large Lego-type blocks. Then, he stomped through them and I made the Godzilla music. LOL! Fun!

The great Randy #2 in Family Ministry took digital photos of the moms with their kids, and then the kids decorated Foam frames with the photo. I love mine!! I will add a couple of magnets to the back and stick mine on the frig. Every home's Art Museum. Here is the photo he took of me with my girls. Not too flattering of me. I can see stress in my eyes and face. Oh well. I love that we all kind of have those "clamped down smiles" on our faces. LOL! I could just eat those girls of mine right UP! They are so yummy!

The picnic at my sister's home was fun. I sat inside at a table full of ladies and talked and laughed. It was so nice! I belly-laughed at a few things that really struck me funny. Here is one:

My little sister's mother-in-law: Where is your trash?
My oldest sister: In the trash can.

LOL!!! That struck me SO FUNNY for some reason. LOL!! The MIL was asking for the location of the trash can so she could dump her plate. My sister was telling her it was fine to just dump her plate into the trash can. But, the way they each worded it was so funny. I fully expected someone to say, "Where do you keep your socks?" To which, my sister would respond, "In my sock drawer." Hee!

I guess you had to be there.

My mom seemed to be in good spirits and was getting around nicely with her small tank of oxygen. She had a really rough spot with her respiratory health from Fall through Winter, but seems to be in a good spot now! Yeah!

There were a few not-so-pleasant moments in the day, too. Life. Janie fell off a chair in our kitchen right as we were leaving to head to my sister's house. She got a goose-egg on her sweet little forehead. Ouch. Later, May was playing in the playhouse at my sister's. and she got stung by a bee ... or a wasp. That was hard! Not a good surprise. :-( She was MAD. "I hate bees." Comfort. Comfort. "I HATE bees." She must have said that 100 times. This is a kid who normally takes bumps, bangs and bruises and hardly notices them. So, it was kind of nice to see her actually REACT to an owie. :-( My poor sweet girl.

There were plenty of Runnin' Cousins! My niece (oldest sister's daughter) who is called "Aunt" by my children, and her family are awaiting their adoption of two sons/brothers from Ethiopia! I cannot say much, but I got to see and hear more about the boys! I CANNOT WAIT TO MEET my two new nephews! OK. Great nephews. I pray that these adoptions go well in all aspects. Paperwork. Financial needs. Emotional needs. Logistics. Travel. Legalities. ETC! Adoption is never easy nor uncomplicated. But, it is rewarding in countless ways! May all go smoothly for this sweet family. Here are the youngest of all the Cousins (some of whom are shirt-tail "cousins" and not really related to one another. We care not. It is fun!). You will recognize my 3 on the right. Amongst the 4 on the left, every other one are siblings. Meaning, the sisters are shuffled alternately. The first and third girls are awaiting their two brothers. The second and fourth girls have two older brothers who were standing out of frame. The three on the right end have a Mama who still dreams of two sons/brothers for their family. But, who realizes day-by-day that it is probably a dream and not a foretelling prophecy.

I was greeted early in bed with breakfast and TONS of crafts, drawings, hand-made games, cards, paintings, bookmarks, etc. I LOVED IT! Lucky me.

It is finished.

In 1998, we bought a new couch before we moved to Tokyo. I bought a bunch of yarn and set to work crocheting an afghan for this couch. I wanted to make it BIG so that two people could sit at opposite ends of the long couch and have their legs up and enjoy sharing the afghan.

Today -- it is finished.

Mind you, I did not work on it all the time during these 10 years! I put it aside for large chunks of time (years!).

This thing is HUGE! I have been HAULING IT to Chinese school for the last couple of skeins and it has been quite the topic of conversation. LOL!

Here it is, spread out on the NEW couch (the couch it was intended for is pretty worn and is now in the basement) and on our bed. That is my dear six-foot-tall husband who is dwarfed by this thing and hiding under it. It would easily cover a king-sized bed.

What was I thinking?

Oh well. Time to ENJOY it!

It is finished.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Castaway, and what it has to do with being a Mother

Today (the Saturday before Mother's Day) is celebrated as Birth Mothers' Day in our house. Tonight, we will light the candles that each of my girls has especially for this day and they will send their thoughts, prayers and questions on the smoke as they each blow theirs out. We will be both profoundly happy and profoundly sad. All at once. I will hope that the 3 women across the globe who gave my children their start in Life, will somehow feel how much they are treasured and how deeply they are loved and respected.

Being a Mother changes you. I often say that it changed me in every way. In every cell. I am changed.

Which brings me to the movie Castaway, with Tom Hanks. You remember it. FedEx executive survives plane crash and lives on deserted island for (5 years?). Thinking always of his True Love. Finally escapes island and is rescued and returned to the United States. Where life has gone on without him. Including the fact that True Love has married and has a baby.

The first time I saw it, I was not a Mother.

When Tom Hanks visited his True Love and they were so torn. Middle of the night. Hearts pounding. She hops in his car (which she has stored all that time for him). It is raining. I think, "OH BOY! She will divorce her husband and live happily ever after with her True Love!" I did not understand it when she told him to take her back home. And ... she did not leave with him. She stayed with her new life as a wife and Mother. What? How could she stand it?????? Her TRUE LOVE was alive and THERE and she stayed?? I could not understand it. I didn't like the ending.

Flash to recently. I bought the movie in the $5 bin at Wal-Mart over Spring Break. I watched it late one night recently, after everyone was sleeping. It was all familiar, as I had seen it in the theater those years ago. During my NON-MOM period.

So, it gets to the part where Tom Hanks visits his True Love and they drive off in the rain. She asks him to return her. She goes back to her life as a wife and a Mother. I sit on my couch and cry my eyes out! This time, I COMPLETELY understand her. She CANNOT leave her baby! She CANNOT leave her husband and family and all the choices and Life she has made. She stays. OF COURSE!! It struck me how my point of view has changed since I have become a Mother.

As I get ready to be placed in a day of honor tomorrow, for my position as Mother, I am so very thankful. I am thankful to be a Mom. I am thankful to be so changed. So see so clearly. To be so blessed, lucky and fortunate.

How. What did I do to deserve such a great gig? I am a Mother.

THAT is my True Love.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Janie's Owie

So. I am in Sam's Club today, wheeling Jane (4) and Irene (5) through in a gigantic buggy, and getting some groceries.

Jane: Mama, I have an owie. (frowns and holds her gut)
Mom: Oh, Sweetie. What is it? Show me.
Jane: My skirt is giving my uterus an owie.
Mom: You KNOW I'm gonna blog that one.

I (of course) looked at her belly and found that the label for her skirt had slid around to the front and had irritated her skin. It was sewn on with very thin nylon (like fishing line) and I believe they must melt it to cut it. That little part scratches sensitive skin. I must remember to remove that tag.

Lest it continue to hurt Jane's uterus.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Carnival - Kentucky Derby

Long time, no blog.

The school Carnival on Friday night was a blast! I think most parents trudge around these things and take it as an obligation. I find it to be FUN! I have fond memories of my school carnivals when I was a kid. Giggling with my best friend Shellee and stalking the boys we liked. LOL! Eating bad foods and playing silly games. Same today. But, at this school, the kids were mostly little ones - I would guess mostly 4th grade and younger. Some older.

ANYWAY -- Chris went and got my mom, and the girls were thrilled to have Grandma with them all evening! She did really well, too, having brought her portable oxygen. There were no tripping mishaps at school (that I witnessed, anyway) and so I am really proud of the kids and adults who took some care with Grandma's "leash."

I volunteered at the dinosaur dig, where you dug through sand to find a plastic dinosaur or a plastic egg that contained a tiny dinosaur. I love sand. I spent a lot of time rearranging the sand with my hands. ;-) It needed to be moved. ;-) A volunteer has to do what a volunteer has to do, right? ;-) Ahhhhhhhh .... cool sand. This is probably as close as my body will get to a beach for quite some time to come. haha. My second favorite second grade teacher (May's teacher is my fav) ran the duck pond game right next to me. She is so pleasant. Very light-hearted, with a kind and joyful manner. She has two adorable daughters in May's class, too. So, it was nice to spend some time by her.

May had her heart SET on winning the Puzzle Crazy basket. That, or the Sports Fan basket. The Sports Fan basket was arranged in a nice folding chair with drink holders, and right on the top ... A PINK JUMP ROPE. Oh, how May longed for that jump rope. She positioned herself front and center as she watched the raffle drawing.

Have I mentioned that I think today's attitude that "everyone wins" is nuts??

I think it is healthy to learn to NOT get the prize, and to be able to be happy for the Winner and move on. Move on.

May did this last night better than she ever has before! So, good on her!

May and Janie got butterflies painted on their sweet faces. Irene got several temporary tattoos. They were all thrilled! May got into a very relaxed state as the PTA Mom (I call all school volunteers PTA Moms - I did not join the PTA this year, as we were still in China when the membership drive happened, and I spaced it once we were back home. Oops. I still consider myself a PTA Mom, though. LOL!) painted away. With all the tactile sensivity May has experienced in the past, it is truly amazing to see her so visibly comfortable with having her face painted. Poor shy Jane could just barely lift her face up enough to have it painted. She had a slight scowl on her face for most of the painting. But, when it was finished, she loved it! She is becoming so brave and even a tiny bit fierce! (She called me "Stupid Mommy!!" the other day, and I was sort of PROUD, in a weird way. But, she still had a consequence.)
Cotton Candy. Need I say more? Yum. I have always wanted to own a cotton candy machine. Is that funny, or what?? LOL!

So, the girls won all sorts of POS (Pieces of ... er ... Silliness) toys in the games, and did not win any baked goods in the Cake Walk, nor any basket(s) in the raffle. But, we had fun!!

Oh! And, I met a mom who made me feel a deep sense of sadness. You all know that I love my kids so much. They are my treasures! They are each such wonderful people! I am truly lucky, blessed, fortunate to get to be their mom. They are marvelous! My heart is FILLED with love for them. But, as we ate dinner at the school carnival, a mom near us started ragging about her life. She went on and ON and ON about how she has it so rough with her one son (he was sitting right beside her and appeared to be first grade aged. He was cute and well-behaved.). She said that people ask her if she will have more kids and she says, "Forget it! I have enough problems with THIS ONE. I am just now getting to do what I (IIIIIIII) want! I can ski and ride my bike and ....blah ... blah .... I am FORTY! FORTY! Why would I want more kids??? rag rag rag rag." She was from Brooklyn and had a LOUD and ok.... obnoxious ... voice. Sigh. I looked at her like she was NUTS. When she finally took a breath, I leaned over to her and told her that I was soon going to be FIFTY and I had THREE kids, 4, 5, and 7. And they are my treasures. She glanced around at my kids, and dismissively stated, "Well. GIRLS are different!!"

Yes, folks. I met a full-blown CRAZY WOMAN.


I did not debate with her. I did not berate her. I felt a deep sadness for her.
This was far beyond a bad day that she should have discussed with a friend (out of her child's earshot), and not a table filled with stangers. This was blindness. She was blind to her life.

Oh! I have to tell you ... before we left for the school, I heard Jane and Irene talking about all the rides they would go on! LOL! They talked about Ferris wheels and rollercoasters. LOL! Janie steeled herself and plotted who would ride with her. LOL! I stepped in and told them the carnival was inside at the school and there would be lots of games, but probably no rides. I love kids. I wish I could always so clearly observe what they think and plan.

While I was at Chinese school yesterday with the girls, my STAR of a husband TiVOed the Kentucky Derby for me!! I love horse racing! I really REALLY love thoroughbred racing!! When I was in my 20's and had first moved to Denver, my girlfriend Linda and I went to Centennial Race Track in Littleton on many sunny Sunday afternoons. That place was pretty urban and a little "gritty" with hardened Gamblers and trash, and noise, and GRIT! But, the sport was still awesome. I think that race horses are some of the most amazing atheletes on the face of the planet! Linda and I would go there and enjoy the sun, the horses, the ritual, the crowd. She and I always placed just the right bets to cover our admission, our parking, and our beers. We had great times together!

Many years later, Centennial was torn down. And, some years after that, the BEAUTIFUL Arapahoe Park was built in what was then waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out east of Denver. Way out east. WAY OUT EAST. I went to opening day and spent hours (no, really) driving on the single lane road that accessed the track. I had a date. He was a bigger horse racing fan than I was, and that is going some! That was a very pleasant day. I continued through the years to visit Arapahoe at least once a racing season. The atmosphere and environment was so different from Centennial! Arapahoe was clean, new, green, VERY family friendly! I remember taking May there several times when she was little. She loved it as much as I did! I never placed any bets when I had May with me. So, those days were the FEW ones where I left the race track in the red. LOL!! But, by then I no longer drank beer, either! LOL!

I sometimes ran into people I knew, and in particular the wife in a couple who were clients of mine. She is delightful and effervescent (have I mentioned that I write here with NO SPELL CHECK??) and I felt a strange mix of guilt and joy to run into her there. I mean ... I took my CHILD to a RACE TRACK! LOL! But, that is not how it is! Horse racing, in my experience, is a day in the sun, hanging around the paddocks watching the horses, and then CHEERING the races! All outside in the sun. FUN!

There is now a major highway that runs VERY close to the new race track. It does not feel so far FAR FAR out east of Denver. In fact, a couple of years ago, I sold a house just minutes from there! Amazing.

ANYWAY -- Chris TiVOed the Derby for me yesterday. (Did you think I would not bring you back after my stories/memories??) I always pick a favorite horse (or two) to cheer for. I have lots of silly criteria by which I pick my favs. They have to do with color, size, pull of head, gait, attitude, and whether or not I see them poop. I kid you not. Well, late last night as I picked my fav, ONE horse stood out for me. The filly! Now, mind you a filly has not won the Derby in 20 years and there has not even been a filly IN the Derby in 9 years! (Just 3 of 134 Derbies have been won by fillies!) But, I picked her (Eight Belles) for her head. Her gait. Her attitude. And, I did not see her poop. LOL! Her color was not quite right (I rarely pick a horse with gray in them!), but she had excellence in so many other areas.

I would have picked the horse who ultimately came in first, he was big and muscular and had the head and attitude! But ... I saw him poop. That counts him out, in my book. LOL! That, and he was heavily favored. I rarely go with the favorite.

SO. I picked my horse. And, settled back to cheer (in my head, as my entire family was asleep) my little filly. Imagine my JOY as she came in SECOND!!! I could hardly keep quiet! SO EXCITING! Imagine my sorrow as moments later, she was euthenized after having broken both front ankles in the race. I was crushed. I sat on my couch and wept. So emotional.

I wept this morning, relating it all to Chris over morning coffee.

Here is to Eight Belles, and to all who owned, trained, rode, and loved her as she RAN to such honor before her death. She proved that she could run with the Big Boys (19 of them!) and win a place of honor!

May we each run fast and hard before the end of our physical time on Earth.

Eight Belles (left, before placing Second) with Big Brown (who would be the 2008 Derby winner).
Eight Belles in the center, runnin' with the Big Boys!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Snow - Testing - Baking

I tried to post this entry last night, but blogger had some sort of issue with my Cookies. Weird. It is fine today --- so here goes.

Yesterday the girls had off from school. But, May had testing at 9 in the morning. When she and I left for school, it was snowing lightly. When we came out of the school, it was a BLIZZARD! Wow. I sure am glad to have 4wd at times like that. The streets were covered, and my anti-lock brakes and lower 4wd kicked into action several times on the short drive home.

I even got to see a real live crazy person! Someone in a Mommy Van did a 3-point turn (like a u-turn that fell short and you have to back up and then go forward again to get turned around. May asked me what a 3-point turn was. So, there you go.) on a BUSY street that runs north and south alongside the east edge of our subdivision. The speed limit is 55 on there. So, even on a CLEAR day, you would have to be a little crazy to do a u-turn or 3-point turn there. But, yesterday the visibility was very limited. But, people were still going pretty fast down that street. So, Mr/Ms Mommy Van stops in the LEFT lane and turns his/her 3-point turn. My heart stopped. I told May, "Oh my gosh! That person could get t-boned!" So, I then mad to explain what a t-bone was. (Getting hit broadside by an approaching vehicle.)

I held my breath as I watched the Mommy Van succeed! Phew!

Don't try that at home.

ANYWAY -- May did GREAT in her testing! Her reading level tests at the end of third grade now! She is finishing second grade at the end of May! AWESOME! The Librarian (I would rather call her by her name, but I don't have her permission on a public blog. She is HIP and FUN and SMART and far from anyone's sterotype of "Librarian.") did a paper on Non-Fiction Reading for her Masters degree and used the second graders for her test subjects. She told me that May got 7 out of 10 right in early March, but improved to 9 out of 10 right in early April! VERY COOL!

What the teacher and Librarian don't know is that May gets sooooooo nervous before testing. I believe this has to lower her scores just a little. I try to squelch any leanings toward perfectionism in my kids. Life is not perfect. We try our best. But, we also must learn to move through fears, mistakes, bad choices, learning curves, and just plain old "not our thing and we're not great at that particular item." :-)

May is a GREAT reader! We are going to concentrate more on non-fiction, as the Librarian told us that starting in third grade, that is what is tested and concentrated on. I read with the girls EVERY night. So, I will start adding in more non-fiction. We mostly read chapter books. We did read on on Helen Keller recently. I went through a time in my life where I ONLY read non-fiction. I love biographies and autobiographies. So, I plan to introduce these to my girls more often.

I baked 4 single layer round cakes for the Cake Walk at the school carnival. They asked me to cut each one into 4 pieces and package them that way. I sure was glad to have those left-over birthday supplies and Dora cake-sized plates at hand! Plus, that puts the useless and unreachable cabinet over the refrigerator to good use.

The girls played outside in the snow and made what may be the final Frosty the Snowman for this snow season. And inside with drawing, writing, and wearing silly hats. I'll post Irene in Chris' Rockies cap and Janie with her dalmaitian skirt on her head. Silly girls.

You must think that all I do is grow plants, play with my kids, and prepare for the school carnival. LOL!! hahahaha. I consider this a personal blog. And, so I am posting personal happenings. I am considering creating a professional blog, too. I am still leary about disclosing too much of who and where we are on here. I believe in the Good of the Universe. But, I am realistic, too.

For fellow fans of the movie "What About Bob?" I look at the series of Irene on the blue sled and think, "I'm sledding!!!"

More after the carnival.

Cosmos (the dog) was smiling so nicely in that one.