Sunday, December 31

What Did You Do This Week, Fiona?

I had my first Christmas! And ate my first stocking...

I played in the snow on Mt. Hood!

I ate my first cereal! Yumm - I love this stuff.

I got another day more beautiful!

Saturday, December 23

Who Are You Exactly?

Connor to mom:
I'm not a dude - I'm a guy!

Connor to Grammy:
I'm not a sweetie - I'm a man! Sweeties are girls.

Wednesday, December 20

Twinkle Toes

For a game recently I got to reveal my "dream job". It came out something like: a CIA operative, covering as a photojournalist, moonlighting as a ballerina. Ah, ballet. So graceful, so elegant. There are few things that a human can do that is as beautiful.

This last weekend, we had a rite of passage in our household. Trinity was now deemed old enough to go to The Nutcracker ballet.

*PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT - There is an appropriate age for taking children to events such as the ballet. This age may not be the same for all children, but please use wisdom. Nice lady three rows in front of us, I am so glad you are wanting to expose your two-year-old to the arts. Truly, I am. Listening to said child meow throughout the sword fight between the Nutcracker Prince and the Mouse King just does not fit the ambiance of the evening. THANK YOU*

So we dressed up in our pretty clothes and headed out for a Girls Night (read Trinity's account here - she's been quite the blogger lately). Besides the concern by my six-year-old that she was going to see Dew Drop's underwear with her too short skirt, and my concern about the...umm...anatomy lesson being revealed by the men in tights, the evening was a wonder.

*PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT #2 - The Nutcracker is not a sporting event. I repeat, The Nutcracker is not a sporting event. It is in extremely poor form to leave during the finale number. To the dozen or so people in our section who blocked our view while hastily retreating to the exit, I am sure that you saved yourselves a good five or ten minutes by beating the crowd out of Smart Park, but come on, people. Manners?? THANK YOU*

Back to my dream job. I fantasize that I could take a ballet class even now and be discovered as a natural. Couldn't you just see me up on stage next year as one of the snowflakes or one of the party attendees? I definitely can. I'll be sure to reserve you tickets. Bring lots of roses to throw on stage. Any color will do.

Thursday, December 14

Let It Snow

I've been in a bit of a funk for a little while now. Holiday blues? No - this season brings me great joy. Post-partum hormonal fluctuations? Probably some. Sleep interruptions? Undoubtedly. One contributing factor has been snow. No, we haven't had any, that's true. I think tonight we are supposed to get blown out to the ocean with the newest storm. But no snow here. It's the stories I've been hearing coming out of the snow that make me melancholy.

I have resisted writing about the Kim family trauma as those of us on the West Coast have been saturated by the minute-by-minute accounts. For those of you in a far-off land, like Uganda or Texas, here's the story... A cute little family from San Fransisco went missing en route from Thanksgiving in Seattle back home via the Oregon coast. For nine days while stuck in the snow on an old washed-out logging road, mom kept her four-year-old and seven-month-old going by nursing them, even as she got weaker. After doing what they could to stay alive, including burning the car's tires, dad finally went out searching for help. The girls were rescued and for days we all hoped he would be, too. They have figured that he hiked for sixteen miles in the snow before finally dying of hypothermia. He was a true man, a hero to be sure, doing what he could to protect and save his wife and children. This story struck a painful spot in the collective hearts of our region.

Currently there is another snow adventure gone terribly wrong; one whose details resemble a picture that could belong to our own family, even as the Kim's story "could have been us". Even now searchers are desperately aching for a clearing in the weather to seek three climbers who have been lost on Mt. Hood for over a week. What a hard Christmas this will be for their families.

I don't have a great spiritual application to make of this. There's no neat little bow to tie together at the end. I know that there are risks in life - choosing to embrace those risks are what makes this a great adventure. I know life is short, which is why we need to live it to the fullest each day ("being ready" as I read in Mark today). I know and believe whole-heartedly that this life is not where it's at or what it's all about; we're just visiting until we can get home to heaven. I'm just a little sad as I read the paper these days, and I wanted to tell you about it.

Wednesday, December 6

Allan's Blog

After much painful labor (not that kind of painful labor), Allan has launched a new blog site. Take a look!

Wednesday, November 29

Big Day


My little man.
Munchkin head.
Little buddy.
Connor Bear.

Happy 4th Birthday, Connor Sage. I adore you, my love.

Friday, November 24

Best Sports Movies

This week we have watched two great sports movies (one of them twice), so I thought I'd make my top ten list of the best sports movies of all time.

* Remeber the Titans - a new classic

* Rudy - our favorite little hobbit's kick-off (get it? kick off!)

* Miracle - my new favorite; if you haven't seen this great portrayal of the 1980 U.S. hockey team, put it in your queue

* Hoosiers - makes me cry every time; goosebumps galore

* Jerry McGuire - pre-whacked-out-Tom; deep story around a great sporting tale

* Field of Dreams - maybe the best one on the list

* The Rookie - feel-good sports story; gives us oldies hope that we still have a shot! Not really.

* Bend It Like Beckham - lighter fare, but fun

* The Natural - depressing, but a classic

* Chariots of Fire - amazing movie for its time; a great story about a great man

Would you have on your list? Cool Runnings (goofy fun), Rocky (almost made the top ten), Any Given Sunday (made me feel yucky), Bull Durham (a favorite amongst a lot of guy friends when I was younger), Breaking Away (watched in honor of cycling husband - horribly dated now), Friday Night Lights (good, but not top ten), Dreamer (great kid-friendly movie - debated top ten)? What do you think?

Wednesday, November 15

Only In Oregon

For Eskimos up North there are about eight gazillion words for what we plain-spoken-types refer to as "snow". In the Great Northwest, we have many word pictures to describe our more frequent weather patterns, known to outsiders simply as "rain". Tonight on the news, after a crazy, stormy day, a PGE lineman being interviewed states, "It's warm out here. It's a dry rain." A dry rain?? Even this life-long Oregonian hadn't heard that one before.

Friday, November 10

The Best Day Ever

As I entered the living room this morning, I was pleasantly greeted with the exclamation, "This is the Best Day Ever!" I was warmed with the sentiment that my children were excited about the "family day" before us. With Trinity out of school today, Allan also took a day off so that we could spend a day together as a family - eat a leisurely breakfast, maybe go to OMSI, just enjoy spending time doing whatever it is that struck our fancy. Who knew what excitment lay before us on this great Friday? Truly it could be the Best Day Ever! That millisecond of fantasy quickly vanished as I glanced at the t.v., which was emblazened with the message, BEST DAY EVER! And you know why? Twenty-four hours of Spongebob Squarepants. Nice.

Wednesday, November 8

My Favorite Season

Stomping through leaves. Fire in the fireplace. Reading a book under a blanket. Chopping wood. Raking the yard.

Hot chocolate. Cinnamon. Homemade soup. Pies. Apples. Stew & cornbread. Hot tea. Homemade bread.

Cool, crisp mornings. Showing the kids the first frost. Gray clouds. Soaking rain. Sunshine. Dark evenings. Bright moon.

School days. Trinity’s birthday. “Trick or Treat!”. Thanksgiving. Connor’s birthday.

Pumpkin patch. Hayrides. Corn maze. Picking hay out of my kids hair. Muddy shoes.

Scarves & hats. Sweaters. Thick coats. Boots. Searching for mittens. Slippers in the morning. Sweats at night.

Football. More football.

Yellow. Brown. Red. Orange.

I love fall.

Saturday, November 4

Halloween Fun

Being a parent has a lot of joys, to be sure, but none so fun as getting to relive the good parts of one's childhood through the next generation. Halloween is one such day. I loved the fun of putting together a costume as a kid and now I get to watch them do the same. There was the year that I was an old man, escorting my best friend, Lezlie, who was a hunch-over grandma. I was a little bummed to have to be the man - but I was so much taller, it only made sense. There was the year of the witch when I spent the evening breathing condensation into the back of one of those plastic masks with the little string and the tiny little eyeholes that encourage tripping over every curb. My last year of trick-or-treating was with my friends Lisa & Kristin as the Three Muskateers. I mostly remember how very cold and rainy it was that year in those thin tights and the question every kid hates to hear, "Aren't you a little old to be out here?" So now I get to bundle up and escort my racing bundles of laughter through the neighborhood, encouraging "Thank yous" at each door and bantering with the other parents about how thankful we are for a clear, albeit very cold, night.

Thursday, October 19

Where's My Prize??

On a recent drive-through episode, Connor and I decided that there is a great injustice taking place in our country. Connor pointed out that it is not fair that he gets a treat with his kid's meal, but grown-ups get nothing - but the bill, of course. So we started brainstorming. Connor suggested Thomas trains and Matchbox cars - big surprise there. It got me thinking. There are all sorts of great little treats with which the fast food chains could delight adults. Miniature lotions or shave gels. A nail file or small roll of duct tape. A piece of fruit, a chocolate truffle or even just a little mint. Don't we deserve a treat, too?

What other good ideas do you have for grown up meal prizes?

Monday, October 16

The Evolution Of Beauty

As a mom of little girls, I struggle with how to teach them about real beauty - that we are amazing and valuable because we are daughters of the King. It's hard to be heard over the lies bombarding us from every angle, but I will continue to seek ways to instill the TRUTH. And maybe remember to believe it myself.

Sunday, September 17

A Week of Firsts

As a child, I always looked forward to this time of my life. Having a young family is a daily symphony of feelings, more intense than one could ever imagine possible. Joy. Exhaustion. Frustration. Elation. Peace. Chaos. Adoration. Pride.

This week was a big one for our little family. A week of firsts. Trinity started her first day of kindergarten (can it be possible?!). Connor started his first day of pre-school. I went back to work, which meant that Fiona had her first hours of care with someone besides family. With Fiona, there are firsts on an almost daily basis as she gets to know this great world. First giggle. First time rolling over. Oh, and lest I forget, my first day back in pre-pregnancy jeans! Woo-hoo! So many emotions that brought lots of smiles and a good share of tears.

Firsts are good. They can be hard, stressful and even scary, but if nothing else, they are excitng. May this week bring you some special firsts.

Sunday, September 10

My Turn!

Been tagged to share, so here goes...

A book that changed my life (besides the Bible):

Although I hadn't picked up an adult version of a Lucado book since the late 1980s or so, It's Not About Me by Max Lucado came to me at a time when I really needed to hear it. What do you mean it isn't all about me? [side note: as I am writing this, I overheard a commercial say, "because it is all about you"]

Viktor Frankl's Man Search For Meaning greatly impacted me as well as it helped formulate one of my life motto' always have a choice.

A book I've read more than once:
Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster is worth reading and re-reading!

A book I would take with me if I were stuck on a desert island:

The Cash family bible, also known as The Boy Scout Handbook. I'm sure all those knot instructions could come in handy somehow!

A book that made me laugh:

Searching For God Knows What by Donald Miller is a fun read mixed with powerful messages.

A book that made me cry:
I don't think that books generally get the tears flowing like a good movie can, but Nicholas Sparks' At First Sight came a little too soon after my own traumatic birth experience with Fiona. I should get Allan to read it just so I can see him cry like a little girl!

A book that I wish I had written:
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - because many of my friends state it as the book that "changed their life more than any other". It is one of those that I know I am supposed to really read (I have skimmed it). Allan, the good husband that he is, says that subliminally I know I don't need to read it because I am already a highly effective person!

A book I wish had never been written:
Books that I didn't like, but for some reason couldn't put down (I have issues).

Books I've been meaning to read (guilt. guilt.):
7 Habits by Stephen Covey
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
Heaven by Randy Alcorn
Girl With the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
The Narnia series by C.S. Lewis

I'm currently reading:
4th of July by James Patterson
The Mother's Guide to the Meaning of Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (hilarious!)
Tales from the Steep: John Long's Favorite Climbing Literature
The Challenge of the Disciplined Life: Christian Reflections on Money, Sex, and Power by Richard J. Foster

Other favorites
(I added this one):
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Peretti's This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness
The Zahir: A Novel of Obsession by Paulo Coelho
The O'Malley series (The Guardian, The Negotiator, etc.) by Dee Henderson
The Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Other Nicholas Sparks books - always good for a little depressive episode
Light on Snow by Anita Shreve

Allan? Cheryl? Trinity? Jeff? Jennifer? Ron? Lori? Any one else who's up for a game? You're it!

Wednesday, September 6

Quote of the Day

Mali, a little friend from PUMP, watching closely as she learns the fine art of breast-feeding, "Do you ever give her chocolate milk?"
"No, Mali, I don't make chocolate milk."
"Why not?"
"Well, I only make regular flavored milk."
"You could wear a chocolate bra!"

Monday, September 4

Good News!

My family gets together all of the time. If it isn't someone's birthday or a holiday, then it is an awards ceremony, basketball game, or watching the World Cup on Mike's big screen. Last night we had another impromptu family get-together. But this wasn't just any pizza and chips gathering; we came together to celebrate the baptism of my nephew, Austin! We are very proud of the very grown up decision this young man has made, the life-long commitment to love and serve Christ. We love you, A.J.!

Sunday, August 27

Messages From the Spirit

I have on occasion received what I believe is a special message from the Lord. It usually comes in the form of a phrase that repeats itself in my thoughts over and over until it becomes my mantra, the theme of a certain time in my life. When we were raising a little girl whom we were attempting to adopt and then subsequently lost, the message, It's Not About Me, coupled closely with the blessed thought, All for His Glory, brought me comfort and much-needed perspective during a tumultuous period. This last year, especially after having read The Treasure Principle, I heard in my head and heart Be Generous! until I actually started to believe it. The last week or so I have been hearing a new message, one that is very old and familiar to most of us. We have heard it so much, in fact, that, in its complete form, it has become cliche' and trite, something left only to the messages proclaimed at weddings. Love is Patient. Love is Kind. Those six words have been my curse and my blessing. They have been a dagger in my heart when my tongue has been used as such with my husband. Love is Patient. Love is Kind. Six little words that have served as a safety net, reminding me in the nick of time what it looks like to be the mother He has called me to be. Love is Patient. Love is Kind. I am thankful for these little reminders from the Spirit. I can only hope to grow into them.

Friday, August 25

Saturday, August 19

A Love Journal

October 31, 1991...our first date
We went to see Hamlet, I believe, or one of those other Shakespearean plays, in the small auditorium at Harding. We would both get extra credit in the English class we shared - where in our first conversation you asked to borrow a pencil. You fell asleep before the play was very far along. My journal entry from that night spoke volumes: "He fell asleep on our first date. Not a good sign."

Thanksgiving, 1991...first "I love you"
I wasn't thrilled that you said it in a Scooby Doo voice, but hey, it would have to do. It was a few weeks later before I reciprocated those precious words (sans the cartoon character impersonation).

Summer, 1992...brought you home to Oregon
Shaggy hair. Cocky as could be. Loved volleyball more than me. My mom couldn't stand you. What's not to love??

Fall, 1992 & Summer, 1994...separated by continents
While I traveled the world, we "took a break" from our relationship. You found it very easy to date other girls. I was tortured. After graduation and my Africa trip I decided to head back to Oregon and find someone who needed me a little more.

January, 1995...move to Oregon
You are offered a job in Portland after you graduate. You decide you need me. We begin secretly dating again and going to pre-marital counseling.

May 31, 1995...the proposal
You take a break from playing volleyball on the beach to propose. The clouds part and heaven shines through with its approval.

August 19,1995...the wedding
"I give you this ring as a symbol of my love. And with all that I am and all that I have I honor you before God."

August 19,
It was a hoot to watch our wedding video today with our three kids running around us - pointing out who was there, who has since died, who has gotten married, and who has grown up so beautifully. Oh, and the hairstyles. Who knew we were all so...mid-nineties!

As I recap our early years, like we often say in amazement, it is a wonder we ever made it. But I am so glad we did. I love our marriage. I love our life together. I love how we talk about everything - from politics to spirituality to our jobs (sorry I can't stay interested longer in geek talk) to parenting to...everything. You are truly my best friend. You are the only person I can be totally authentic with. If everyone who calls me quiet only knew how I talk your ear off! I could not ask for a better daddy for my kids. It is an honor to raise such beautiful angels with you.

Happy 11th Anniversary, Allan.

Saturday, August 12

Recipe For Disaster

Allan and I were recently discussing torture - the kind that is inflicted on prisoners of war. We know how it should be done. Start off with sleep deprivation - that part they seem to have down. But here's where it really gets effective. Instead of using dogs or water or whatever, kids should be added to the mixture. Specifically in scenarios such as, I don't know...being sleep deprived and driving ten miles per hour down the freeway when you are late for a dinner with a yappy five-year-old, a whining three-year-old, and a sleeping newborn. OR, offer the hope of a nap to one who has been sleep-deprived for what feels like years and then put them in a room with aforementioned five- and three-year olds, with a newborn who will wake at any moment in the next room. If these recipes for torture were to be followed, one could hear profound statements of a broken will like "If you two don't cool it, I will pull this car off the road!" (knowing that there is no way that you would actually pull off, given that you are driving ten miles per hour on the freeway and would not dare lose another foot of ground), sometimes accompanied by the trying-to-drive-yet-make-contact-with-the-bare-calf-in-the-backseat and-not-kill-all-of-us move. OR, my personal favorite, "If you..[pause] anything that I don't like, you will be sitting on your bed for twenty minutes!" (knowing full well that the speaker will never fulfill said threat due to the reality that the speaker will be the worst one off having to listen to whining and crying for twenty minutes). This threat, hypothetically speaking of course, may be followed with a conversation like: "Is twenty minutes a long time?" "Yes." "A really long time?" "Yes." Then a couple of minutes later with a guilt-inducing plea from the torture accomplice, "Mom, can I move my leg a little?"

Put these into practice and the strongest of wills can be broken.

Sunday, August 6

Quote of the Day

Mom, are we Native Americans or are we white demons?
Ummm...Guess I need to do a little Pocahontas debrief.

Saturday, August 5

Did He or Didn't He?

We're a little heartbroken around our house today. You see, for three weeks each year Allan and I stay up past our bedtime to marvel at one of the most grueling and amazing professional athletic events in the world - le Tour de France. This year's tour was about as exciting as they come. Floyd Landis, in position to take the lead, hit "the wall" in a major way, seemingly ending his chances of taking the yellow jersey in Paris. The next day, in a feat of determination and self-resolve, not to mention amazing athletic ability, Landis came back to blow everyone away and regain the upper hand. He did indeed go on to win the Tour and succeed Lance Armstrong as America's premier cyclist.

To today and our heartbreak...Landis, like Armstrong almost every year it seems, has been accused of adding testosterone to his body in order to improve his performance. He adamantly denies the allegations, but today the second test came out positive as well. Bob Roll, the most annoying announcer of all time (get your hands out from in front of your face!!), cries "conspiracy!" against America's great cyclists. It's hard, though, not to doubt. Did I spend three weeks watching someone cheat their way to the top? That makes me sad. And if it isn't true (oh, I would really like that to be proven the case), I'm sad that whomever it is that causes these ruckuses has to mar such an amazing sporting event.

Saturday, July 29

Update From the Home Front

Hey everyone - I do live! Thank you for all of the prayers and encouragement this week. It is all needed! We are enjoying our time at home now as a little family of five. Fiona is lovely and sweet. She is feeding well and getting me up for snacks every couple of hours. Trinity and Connor have warmed up to the new lifestyle very well and enjoy laughing at all of their little sister's funny faces. It is great having Allan home; I already dread his return to work after next week. As for me? Emotionally I am doing well, just enjoying life as it comes minute by minute. Someday Allan and I will need to process the frightening birth experience we endured, but that needs to be held off for now. The physical recovery process feels s-l-o-w (has it really only been four days??). The internal bruising will take a bit to heal up; we are thankful, though, that we will easily recover from all the trauma!

Need to keep this short. Trinity & Connor are running in and out - catching spiders and bringing them to show me. Allan's getting dinner on the table, and Fiona is beginning to stir on the couch next to me. Stay tuned!...

Wednesday, July 26

Introducing Fiona Grace White

fionaAt 6:01 Tuesday evening, Kristi gave birth to Fiona Grace White. She was 21.4” long, and weighed 11 pounds 4 ounces!

Fiona broke the record for Providence Hospital for the last couple of years. The nurses couldn’t belive she was delivered normally. Wow.

Delivery was very hard, and I got pretty worried for a minute. But Kristi did it, and is recovering well. Fiona is just wonderful. She eats, she sleeps, she fills her diaper, she makes cute noises. Oh, and she's beautiful, if still a bit puffy. I'm looking forward to getting to know her.

You can see some pictures over here at Flickr. We've shot some video as well, but who knows when that will get put together. Probably for high school graduation. =)

- Allan

Thursday, July 20

No News is...Oh, Never Mind

Thank you for all of the well-wishing email, phone calls, and blog comments lately. Tuesday has come and gone, so my dear doctor is back. When I told him how relieved I was, he shared that he had told the nurses to call him if I went into labor while he was on vacation. He was going to make every effort to come in for it, even then (you see why I love this man?).

Now we are at a place of decision. This baby is getting big (they're guessing it is well into the eight pound range or bigger at this point), and I'm still only 1 cm dilated. I can be induced, which I was trying to avoid because of the long labor that results, or I can wait, and risk a few complications that come with larger babies, like a long labor, tearing, and the baby getting stuck (all which happened with Trinity when she was induced past her due date). Hmmm...any other options available?

I know I should put on my happy face, but I'm a little discouraged about this tonight (morning? - sleep isn't coming). Maybe disappointed is a better word. You know, sometimes things in life don't work out how we'd want. I can deal with it, and I know the important result is the same - a little bundle of joy and perfection placed in my arms at the end of a battle. But right now I want to be in my disappointment.

I'm sure things will look brighter in the daylight.

Tuesday, July 18

Site of the Day

Got an unidentified creepy-crawlie in your yard, or ack!, in your bathroom? Check out What's That Bug? to find the answer.

Friday, July 14

Who He Is

There is a passage of Scripture that has been resonating in my thoughts and spirit for many months. I think it has found a place in my attention because, through hearing God's own words, it reveals His character and my place in this world.

If you ever find yourself losing perspective, thinking it is all about you, read the last few chapters of Job.
Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell, if you know so much. Do you know how its dimensions were determined and who did the surveying?

Who defined the boundaries of the sea as it burst from the womb, and as I clothed it with clouds and thick darkness? For I locked it behind barred gates, limiting its shores. I said, 'Thus far and no farther will you come. Here your proud waves must stop!"

Have you ever commanded the morning to appear and caused the dawn to rise in the east?

Where does the light come from, and where does the darkness go? Can you take it to its home? Do you know how to get there? But of course you know all this! For you were born before it was all created, and you are so very experienced!

Can you hold back the movements of the stars? Are you able to restrain the Pleiades or Orion? Do you know the laws of the universe and how God rules the earth?

Can you stalk prey for a lioness and satisfy the young lions' appetites?

Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Have you watched as the wild deer are born? Do you know how many months they carry their young?

Have you given the horse its strength or clothed its neck with a flowing mane? Fiercely it paws the ground and rushes forward into battle when the trumpet blows. It senses the battle even at a distance.

Are you as strong as God, and can you thunder with a voice like his? All right then, put on your robes of state, your majesty and splendor. Then even I would praise you, for your own strength would save you.
[taken from Job chapters 38 - 42, NLT]

Wednesday, July 12

Tick, Tick, Tick...

I have been ready to give birth for, well...months, actually. I really enjoy pregnancy in some ways - the honor of being involved so intimately with an incredible, mind-blowing miracle, watching my body change in ways that don't seem possible, bonding with the little one inside, and even the attention and pampering from family and strangers alike. This has been a harder pregnancy for me, though, both mentally and physically. I feel older.

So here's my dilemma. After months of being "ready" to give birth (and saying over and over I just have to make it through the first two weeks of PSP!!), I need labor to hold off until at least Tuesday. My doctor is out of town. I love my doctor, Dr. Nakamura. I rely on him to help me make the best choices for myself and my babies. I trust him with our lives. He is a great, incredibly wise and amazingly intelligent, Christian man. He has been the hands who have been the first to touch my other two children, and he is the only doctor I have ever had.

Logic tells me that it will all work out fine. Allan keeps reminding me that Dr. Nak trusts the other doctors in his practice, so we can, too. Those other doctors delivered three of my nephews and several cousins. But the nightmares have been ugly. The ones where I die during delivery because he was not there. But, in case you weren't aware, logic goes pretty far out the window when one is over 38 weeks pregnant!

So for the next few days I will hold off on long walks, massaging pressure points, eating spicy foods and all of those other triggers for labor. I think I'll just lie really still and watch the clock until Tuesday.

Monday, July 10

Random Question of the Day

Does anyone know why we (and other people groups) do not call foreign cities and countries by their proper names? For example, why do we say Florence, Italy rather than Firenze, Italia? Or why is Deutschland called Germany? [I know they used to be Germania]. Russia instead of Rossiya? It's just one of those things that has bugged for years, so I thought I'd ask.

Monday, July 3

Baby Name Ideas

After the "Are you having twins??" and "Is it a boy or a girl?" questions that I field dozen of times per day, the next question is usually about what names we have chosen. I'd love to have an answer for people. We just can't seem to have a discussion about it - other than my occasional "What do you think about [fill in the blank]?" and Allan's initial response and Trinity and Connor giving their definite opinions. Allan has always liked the idea of waiting to choose the name once we meet the baby, so I'm thinking that may be playing a part in our lack of deliberation. Here's a few ideas we have been throwing around - we're still open to others, though. Feel free to comment on what you like and don't like; I'm sure we'll go our own way no matter what people say!

(I think we have an "n" ending thing going on)

Boy Middle Name:

Willow (too many Ws?)

Girl Middle Name:
Jade (I think this is the only name we are pretty set on)

Sunday, June 25

The Latest

I have not posted much lately because I have been consumed by two major life events. The first being the rather obvious impending birth of our third child and trying to be a somewhat decent mom to the other two in the mean time. Not an easy task, to say the least, but they are patient and loving with my limited abilities. The second being PSP, our PUMP Summer Program, which begins tomorrow morning with 120 beautiful children! We have had our ten interns for two weeks, team building, prepping and preparing for the next six weeks of dynamic ministry with these kids and families.

I have been living and breathing these two things for a number of weeks (months?) now. When we saw that Allan had a work trip and it was at the Oregon coast, rather than Florida, Texas, or D.C., we jumped on the opportunity for me to take a little respite and go along for the weekend. It was a much-needed time of quiet and rest and cool weather. Oh, and the food - salmon for dinner, crab for lunch, shrimp for dinner! Fresh fruit! Decadent desserts! And, best of all, little of it paid for by us!

We got to spend even more quality time together on the six-hour drive home. Did I say six hours - from Lincoln City? Yes, that's what I said (long, not very exciting story). Back to the valley of 100 degrees, where my feet immediately swelled up to the size of watermelons. BUT, we walked into a house that had been cleaned by my dear friend Kymm. After a lot of hugging and yammering, my beautiful kids are now asleep in the next room. And I am currently perched in front of the cool air condition unit (with ice bags on my feet) that my husband struggled to install at 10:30 tonight (thank you, dear!).

Life is good.

Friday, June 9

Zoo Field Trip

Connor, Aunika, Trinity & seal lion friend

Tuesday, June 6

You're No Grown-Up, Mom!

Cute car conversation with Connor today...

C: Mom, I need some Sprite.
K: You need Sprite?
C: God drinks Sprite.
K: Really?
C: ...and coffee.
K: God likes coffee?
C: God's a grown-up.
K: But I don't drink coffee.
C: But God does 'cause he's a grown-up.

Saturday, June 3

Sports Psychology

How much of sports is mental? Do Kobe, Dirk, Steve have an amazing advantage over the rest of the world in basketball, in particular, because of their great physical talents or because of some mental edge? Or both? I just watched a total mental breakdown by the Phoenix Suns. How can a team, who is dominating to the point of being 18 points ahead, completely lose focus or drive or motivation to enter the final minutes of the game looking as if there had never been any hope?

Individuals can definitely have an issue with this. I think Rasheed is one of those guys who can be an amazing player, but in the moment when the pressure is greatest, he can't hold up mentally for some reason. He did it the other night against Miami - unable to get anything to drop at the point in the game that was the make-it-or-break-it for his team. He had done the same thing at the last game of The Blazers, in May, 2000. That was a total team effort, though.

In game seven we were up by 15 with 10 minutes left in play. And then that mental break happened. Rasheed missed six in a row. Steve Smith missed the next four. Scottie Pippen threw away his shares of missed shots as well. We were outscored 25 to four in the last nine minutes. What on earth could cause such a total meltdown?

Although we just saw it happen in professional basketball, I think it happens in all sports at all levels. Our volleyball team used to do this. One game or one night we're playing like the Flaming Watermelons that we were (David Letterman stunt inspired team name); then, sometimes in a moment, we looked like we could be trounced by a junior high team.

I suppose there is not one answer to this question or it wouldn't be such an issue. Teams would figure out that solution and know how to avoid such a predicament. I find it a fascinating phenomenon. Any insightful thoughts?

Tuesday, May 30

Low Rider

Thanks to all of you who contributed guesses for the baby date & gender. All of you (except Kaelea who voted for twins - ack!) remain in my good graces for not putting any August dates! The last few days have seen an increase in folks on the street voicing their opinions as to the sex, as well. One hundred percent consensus from strangers is - It's a Boy! They don't care when I explain that I have carried my other two, including a girl, low and out front. It's a Boy! they declare. The lady behind the hotdog counter at Costco, after making such a confident prediction, reached across the counter, felt the side of my belly and boldly concluded, Yep, you've got a little man coming! I wonder how she would have felt had I reached across the counter and patted her belly in return? :-)

Friday, May 26

Baby Game!

Baby's arrival is coming upon us in less than two months! I thought we'd put a friendly little guessing game out there to see who can predict the baby's sex and birth date. The winner will get...something great, I'm sure! A Burgerville milkshake? Rights to change the first diaper? Something magical, no doubt. I'm up for suggestions on that, as well.

No, I do not have any inclinations as to the sex of the baby. I was sure Trinity was going to be a boy (Caleb), so I don't really trust my instincts anyway. The only fairly reliable old wives tale is if the woman consistently dreams of one sex (it's 95% accurate as a predictor, so I read), but alas, I have only had two baby dreams - one with a boy and one with a girl.

The estimated due date has been July 25, but baby was measuring a week or so ahead of schedule. Trinity was induced five days after her due date; Connor was induced two weeks ahead of his due date, so no help predicting from there either!

Here's the guesses so far:
  • male, July 10 - daddy
  • female, July 11 - Trinity
  • male, July 25 - Connor
  • male, July 14 - Grammy
  • male, July 20 - Grandaddy
  • female, July 18 - Uncle Mike
  • female, July 16 - Aunt Koni
  • male, July 15 - A.J.
  • male, July 1 - William
  • male, July 14 - Aunt Dana

Thursday, May 25

To a little girl on her third birthday...

Three years old - how exciting! I wonder what kind of party you asked for this year. Was it Dora or Blues Clues? Or maybe with the influence of your older sister you are already into princesses or Barbie. I bet it will be fun, no matter what character adorns your cake!

Time is funny - I can't decide if it seems like it has been just a day or two since we lost you or if it has been forever. I guess it has been half of your lifetime since we were your family. You are probably such a funny kid now - full of energy and strong in will.

We think of you all of the time. I recently confessed to some family that I look for you every time I'm in a mall, seeing all of those families walking and talking together. Allan said he does the same thing at the park. I don't know what I'd do if I did actually see you again. Would I introduce myself to your family? Would I watch you for a little while from a distance - just to see you laugh and hear you talk? Would it break my heart or would I feel comfort in seeing that you were well cared for and happy?

You know that's what we've always prayed for - that you would be part of a family where you would know boundless love. And more importantly, we pray you are in a place where you can get to know Jesus. I'm sure our first prayer has been answered beyond measure already. I don't know if the second one has been answered...yet. I do know, without a shadow of a doubt, that the Lord is going to surround you with opportunities to meet and fall in love with Jesus in your lifetime. Although it will be your choice, I believe that He will make it hard for you not to love Him, if for no other reason than to allow us to be with you in heaven. I look forward to that day.

So, my dear girl, enjoy this very special third birthday! As we silently acknowledge this day of celebration for you, we thank God for the amazing, special gift you were to us.

Thursday, May 18

A is for Apple

Today I read about an author who commits to reading 100 books each year! After several years of nothing longer than Goodnight Moon, Real Simple magazine and friends' blogs, I have been trying to read more grown-up books this year, so I thought I'd go back and count them up. I'm afraid I am not quite on pace. I have blogged nine book reviews since January and am about four posts behind. That puts me at about one book every 10.61 days; while the pace setter reads a new one every 3.65 days. Well, he does get paid to read and write, right?? Actually, I'm pretty pleased with my increased consumption this year. Glad I got four new books for my birthday last week! Got to get crackin' (see my other blog for updates).

Monday, May 15

The Core

Tonight as I was flipping around during the commercials, I came across a scene from a movie where a man, wearing a suit that is designed to withstand 5,000º, had to enter the core of the earth where it was a balmy 10,000º. Needless to say, he, along with his lovely, shiny, metalic suit, melted to smithereens. That was me today.

Friday, May 12


Lost is just such a cool show. Last week's episodes was jaw-dropping, one of those NO WAY!! endings that leave you salivating for the next week to quickly pass. And for us poor saps who have yet to get Tivo, we can now watch missed ones right on ABC's website (which is faster than waiting for a dear husband to get it online, as well). Is it Wednesday yet??

Saturday, May 6

Ode to Maturity

I am growing up. I really am. Lately, on two separate occasions, I have chosen friendship over old rivalry and had Lakers play-off games aired in my home. Not only did I welcome my friends to watch the games here, but I did not once make any, not even one, disparaging remark against the team that has caused more ire to stir within me than any other since the Pistons and that Bill Laimbeer punk (whom I still might bite in the kneecap - since that's all I could reach - if he came within view). Back to how I've matured, though...I have actually enjoyed watching these games and felt very little negative reaction to the purple and yellow, oops - I mean gold, uniforms. So, tonight, after a crushing game seven, I offer my deepest empathies to my friends, Billy and Hershell. I know how it feels, man.

Sunday, April 30

An Adventure in the City

My kids and I like to go on "adventures" now and then. We'll walk down to the bus stop and hop on Tri-met's number 8 that takes us down to the Convention Center MAX stop. Sometimes we'll head out towards Grammy's in Gresham or head the other direction to meet Allan near his work. It is always truly an adventure to take pre-schoolers on public transport, but I like exposing them to our city and the cool cultures all around us that often converge in one vehicle.

Yesterday's adventure definitely exposed us to some of our city's..."culture". A lady, let's call her "Shelly", got on a few stops after we did. She had the look of a hard life - aged and abused beyond her years. She sat across from us next to a guy, we'll call "Greg", an almost blind guy with a guide dog, whom Shelly obviously knew, but hadn't seen, for some time. The loud conversation between them went to how she recently had some tooth problems. Within minutes they were making a deal for Greg to buy Vicodin, presumably given for tooth pain, from Shelly. They make their arrangements (apparently about $1.50 per pill), and she goes to sit farther back in the bus with her fiancee. They continue their loud conversation down the length of the bus about Shelly's previous boyfriend who, at last meeting, nearly beat her to death. Greg then picks up a conversation with "Jack", a hippie-type playing his guitar (very well, I might add), sitting next to him. Jack shows Greg the pills he bought earlier in the day from a different vendor, so Greg, who obviously has studied pharmaceuticals extensively, informs Jack of the details regarding Jack's latest purchase (Greg declares himself a "light weight" and prefers Vicodin, but he's sure Jack will do well with his heavier ones).

I was really struck by this encounter. At first I was just amazed at the blatant nature of their behavior. They were dealing and comparing their prescription drugs three feet in front of me and my little children and within earshot of the entire bus, including the bus driver. Then I was struck by the reality. This is life for these dear people. It's all about numbing the pain of whatever life circumstances have gotten them on that bus on that day.

I walked away from our adventure with one repeating thought: They don't know. I just keep coming back to that thought throughout the rest of the day: They don't know. So many people we see in this city don't the Truth. The revealing, liberating, passionate, loving Truth, who is Jesus Christ. I don't know what to do with that tonight, but to pray for them - and for me - to know and believe and live the Truth.

Tuesday, April 25

Life Lessons

Intimately experiencing a child growing up is such an honor. It is an incredible joy to witness your own little one discover some of the cool things about life - examining their planted seeds grow into flowers or veggies, mastering the important life tasks of skipping or riding a bike.

Life also teaches some painful lessons that I would rather not see my children learn. There was a day a few months back when Trinity said, "Mommy, I'm not really a princess, am I?" "Of course you are! You are the princess of our family." "But I'm not really a princess." This would have been a wonderful opportunity for me to talk about heaven with her - about how she is really a princess, just like I am. We are both the daughters of The King, with our mansion and jewels awaiting our arrival in heaven. It's kind of like we're just in disguise as paupers until we reach heaven. Just because we don't wear gowns and crowns every day does not change the fact that we are, in fact, royal princesses. I did say all of that to her later, but at the moment I was paralyzed by the loss of innocence I was witnessing in my precious girl.

Yesterday she hit me again with another one of those comments that stabbed my heart. "I wish I was Aunika" (a friend from school). "Why's that?" "Because Aunika can do things that I can't do." I literally felt my heart ache. She went on to explain that Aunika can swing all the way across the rings at the park, a very important feat for pre-schoolers. It's true - Aunika is a little monkey and very athletic for a five-year-old. Of course I shared with Trinity that she is able to do things that Aunika can not (to which Aunika hollered from the next room, "Like what?"), and that everyone learns to do things at different paces. But the message was clear. My daughter feels less about herself because she is learning to compare herself with others and sees herself as inadequate.

This is what parenting is all about. Sure, it is necessary that I teach my kids how to tie their shoes and go potty in the toilet. It's important that I help them practice reading and writing. But what really matters are these life lessons: You are a child of The King. You are precious and worthy because you belong to Him. It's all about Him and His glory. Heaven is where we get to be together forever.

Saturday, April 22

Lilac Bloom

I didn't know that the big bush out our bedroom window was a beautiful purple lilac bush until it exploded in color this week!

Tuesday, April 18

Easter Weekend

Allan, Kristi (& baby), Trinity & Connor, Easter, 2006

We had a nice Easter weekend. It started on Friday evening with a Passover celebration with several of our good friends. It was a really lovely event - and peaceful with no kids! There were several aspects of the night's rituals which particularly touched me. Tasting the bitter herbs reminds us, not subtlely, of our sin and utter hopelessness before being freed from captivity. Eating the lamb was a very touching communion moment for me; there was so much power in the symbolism. Examining the events that surrounded the initiation of our current communion service was also an important message for me to experience. Jesus' offer of the cup of wine symbolizes his proposal of marriage to his followers, as per the custom of a man offering his potential bride a cup of wine as a proposal covenant.

I wish we as a culture had more profound rituals such as this to commemorate our important events. Allan brought up a great point that evening...because we are a young country, made up of people groups and cultures from all over the world, the great rituals that others experience in their home countries have been lost, watered-down, in our great melting pot. Therefore, we have no one set of rituals, rich with meaning and heritage, to mark our important life events. That leaves it up to us as smaller groups - families, churches and groups of friends - to implement and teach new (or old) rituals for the next generation. I think that is a fun assignment to pursue!

Easter day was nice, full of good food (non kosher, to say the least) and egg hunts in the wet grass with lots of family around (more Easter photos). Hope you had a good Easter weekend as well!

Monday, April 10

Baby Names

As we head towards the last trimester of this pregnancy, I think it is probably time for Allan and I to start some baby name discussions. Up to this point, it has just been me occasionally hollering across the house, What do you think about ____?, and getting his initial No, I don't think so or Hmmm...I'll have to think about that one or something like that.

Like I said in an earlier post, everyone has baby naming criteria - trendy or unique, family names, alliterations, etc. Here are some of the tendencies we lean towards in our search:

In naming our kids, I have generally looked at Scottish names or those who could at least sound Scottish. I figure we give our kids my husband's family heritage (English) through our last name, so I can sneak in my love for the Cash homeland through our childrens' first names. The problem is that the Scottish people have some weird names for our culture, like Alastair, Chalmers, Finlay, Malise, and Ogilvy (isn't that a butter spread or something?).

We tend to be drawn towards names that are not too high on the popularity list but that are not totally unheard of either. When Trinity was born, her name was ranked about 75th in popularity; two years later, Connor was around 60th (they've both moved up the lists since then).

I don't need the name to start or end in any particular letters. In fact, I think I look towards names that are not the same starting letters of any in our family.

I like my boy names to be manly; I prefer my girl names to be strong and feminine. I leave the boy names in the boy list; the poor guys are running out of options!

For the middle names, we, somewhat accidently, ended up with a similar bent. Rose and Sage are both one syllable words that are both a plant and a color. At this point, Jade is the only other word to match that trend that we can think of!

My friend, Jennifer, who is due this next month reminded her readers to carefully consider the acronym made by the child's initials, as well. I have read that kids with positive acronyms (GOD, ACE) are happier and more well adjusted than those children with less appealing initial combinations (DUD, ASS, DOG).

So, with our criteria in mind, feel free to NAME OUR BABY! I started to share some that have lingered on our lists through the years, but I'd like to start from scratch. I'll keep you posted on the progress...

Sunday, April 2

Someone Stop This Rollercoaster!

When people use the "too busy" card for almost anything, especially something like blogging, I internally cringe. Because it isn't generally that we are too busy, but that we are making choices to spend our time in one way or another. One may have chosen to read a good book or watch Lost or reorganize the garage over something else, but it doesn't mean that one has been under some proverbial gun twenty-four/seven.

To quote a friend, I say all that to say... I was going to write about how I have truly been too busy to blog lately, although topics swirl through my mind daily. I could tell you about my husband being gone on another Luis Palau festival trip. I could tell you about the various family escapades the kids and I have been involved in since Jeff, Cheryl and the kids arrived from Uganda. I would love to share my new found appreciation for Poison Control after Connor and a cousin taste tested Grandaddy's pills. I'd love to share about a good book I just finished or a controversial blog and news topic that has been on my mind a lot. I could go on for days about all of the transitions happening at PUMP that make me hopeful and tearful all at the same time. Then there's all the pregnancy stuff - the daily comments about how I must be having twins or my due date is wrong, the continuing sleeplessness, the name game, the joyful anticipation, the cute antics of my two other kids getting mentally ready for this change.

So, there you have it in a nutshell - the Reader's Digest condenced version of my life this week. Gotta run. I know there is something else I'm supposed to be doing right now!

Friday, March 24

March Madness

Trinity asked me the other day why it is that I like sports so much. Last night gave the answer. Did you see those games?? They were crazy exciting and offer a surge of adrenaline that one just doen't get to experience often, unless it's in a near-death barely-missed car accident.
Trinity (parroting a commercial): March Madness!
Connor: March Madness? What's that?
Trinity: It's the best night of basketball all year!

Dominant Duke knocked out by the "Big Baby" and LSU. West Virginia tied the game with a great three-pointer, leaving just five seconds left on the clock, only to have Texas match with an equally amazing three-pointer to win at the buzzer. UCLA hammered the entire game, down by as many as seventeen points, to come back and, with an acrobatic steal, win by two over Gonzaga and the ever-present Morrison.

Good stuff!

Monday, March 20

Oh, Happy Day!

I was looking on my student loan web site to get some tax info (yes, I'm still putting together our taxes), when LO and BEHOLD!! it shows a negative balance!! I ended my days as a student at Harding on May 25, 1994, and I am today, almost twelve years later, free from the shackles of bondage that have been my college student loans! Hallelujah!!

Wednesday, March 15

Restless Leg

For someone who has trouble keeping her eyes open during parts of the day, it makes no sense to me why nighttime sleep sometimes alludes my body. It is 2:45 a.m. and here I am on my computer. The culprit? Restless Leg Syndrome. Ever hear of it? Although I have experienced it a lot before, especially during pregnancies, I didn't know that this annoying trait had a name. Basically, it is a jittery, crawling sensation in one's legs, kind of like having an electric current running through them. There is an overwhelming sensation to move one's legs or get a massage (sometimes a tall order at two in the morning), hence the name. So here I am, reading up on another weird pregnancy symptom to see if any relief is possible. It appears that there may be a link between RLS and iron or folate deficiency, so I need to get those vitamins down each day! In the meantime, I think I'll shake a leg [har, har].

Thursday, March 9

What's That?

My husband brought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers: Happy International Woman's Day! How'd you celebrate?

Saturday, March 4

Highway 224

This week I had the great opportunity to go for a long drive with one of our PUMP families. I could quickly tell as we left the city for more remote areas that they were passing some invisible barriers - social? economic? - that have kept them primarily within Northeast Portland. It was fun to see a world that is familiar to me through the eyes of the teens in particular. Did you see those llamas?!...which led to a family argument about whether it is llamas, goats or camels who spit on people. Look, sheep!...Did you see all of those cows?...As we drove out highway 224 we passed the Christmas tree farm where my family has had success two years in a row (that is more amazing than you know!). Passing through Estacada I was reminded of the camping trip where Pearl and I had to come into town to get pizza for everyone after a terrible scorched stew incident. As we climbed the steep mountainside outside of Estacada, I reminisced about a frustrated Greg as the Metro van stalled on the way to a fishing trip (don't make Greg miss a fishing opportunity). We made it all the way past Indian Henry campground - a family favorite (I have fond memories of a frantic search for nephew Austin, a young toddler, in the forest) and where some of my friends and I celebrated my thirtieth birthday. Did you see that waterfall?...Look at that ocean river thing - that is tight...Indeed.

photo by Ryan Stormer

Tuesday, February 28

Dry Spell

I have hit a dry spell in my blogging life. Why then, I hear you ask, are you bothering me now with idle pratter? Because I can. And as I recently encouraged my friend Aimee Jo, I am going to say something, even if it lacks entertainment value.

So what's been going on with me lately? Two words: perinatal depression (think: what you've heard about post-partum depression, but during pregnancy). And, get this...while I was sobbing and being generally pathetic this last week, my lowest point so far, my husband was on a business trip to Florida. He worked incredibly hard, for sure, but good grief, the place was a luxury spa and resort. I even noticed they provide maternity massage! And why was I not there?? I think Trinity and Connor would have done just fine on their own. They're pretty scrappy kids! Actually, now that I think about it, Trinity might have done a better job at keeping the house cleaned had I been gone.
Allan picks up something off of the table, giving a grunt of disgust, Is this honey all over the table?
Oh, no, it's syrup. I covered it with a napkin and forgot about it.
How long has it been here??

If you'll excuse me...I have some housework to catch up on.

Saturday, February 18

New Blog

A minute aspect of my personality that I do not adore is that I have trouble formulating the foundation for my opinions. I can say, "I like it" or "I despise it", but I often cannot express the reason why. It is a characteristic of myself in which I would like to see improvement. So, I recently started an exercise to force myself to decide how I feel about what I see and read, in the form of a review blog. Looking over what I have written thus far, I tend to highlight the facts regarding what it is I am reviewing, while the actual review remains fairly lean. But, hey, it is a work in progress. In the meantime, you may find something you'd like to read or watch based on my little musings.

Thursday, February 16

To the Humane Society!

You would think by now that I would fully comprehend that I am a mother. Sometimes, though, a new event happens and it takes you right back to your childhood and how you viewed your mom. It is those moments when I feel so perfectly...motherly. Yesterday I got to go on my first field trip as a mom-escort. I had my little charges listed on an index card and we were off to the Humane Society. It was a fun afternoon, filled with loud, barking dogs and cute little kittens (and a creepy rat!). No tears or throwing up or bathroom accidents -- a very succesful day with a small troop of four- and five-year-olds!

Tuesday, February 14

Happy Valentine's Day!

I just spent the evening with the three greatest loves of my life. First, I took the two shorter ones to the library, where we enjoyed playing on the computer and meandering. We took a few extra rides on the elevator just for hoots. Then we all geared up for a rousing movie experience with Curious George. I adore all three of these precious gifts more than words can express. Good day of love!

Saturday, February 11

Let's The Games Begin!

The opening ceremonies of the Torino Olympics did not disappoint. They had me choking back the tears in the first few minutes, with the amazing footage of Italy, a country that I dearly love and long to see again. The mountains, the piazzas, the castles -- amazing!

Olympics opening ceremonies are always a bit odd. There's always some theme that they are supposedly following, but it usually comes across like a psychedelic dream performed by Cirque de Soleil. Not a big fan of the dancing cows or the ladies who wore the mountain range dresses. I'm already tired of hearing about Bode and Michelle Kwan - I think we have a few other athletes whom we can focus the cameras on. And what was with the American 1980s soundtrack? YMCA??

Ah, but there were so many good things about this opening event...the masses that made up the ski jumper in flight...the Spiderman acrobats on wire who formed a dove...the lighting of the flame. The parade of nations, although very long, is always cool. I love seeing the warm climate countries who send one delegate over - Kenya, the Bahamas, Brazil. All of the athletes seem so authentically proud and excited, and I continue to be amazed at the collection of the world in one place. Where else does North and South Korea march together under one banner? The evening ended on a very high note, with Pavarotti singing one of the most beautiful songs ever, "Nessun Dorma" from Puccinii's Turandot.

An unexpected plus of the opening ceremonies was the commercials. In my opinion, far better than the much-hyped Superbowl collection!

Thursday, February 9


When little girls play house, there is great joy in choosing the name for one's baby. I had Mandy and Annie amongst my little girls. As a girl daydreams in her high school English class, she may plan her perfect wedding or she may doodle possible names for her future children. Let's see...I remember that I was going to name my son Andrew "Drew" Cole or Daniel "Danny" Reid. My daughter was going to be Lily or Abby (not bad!).

Then you get pregnant and the burden of giving a person the perfect name is upon you. Most of the names we have as the "perfect" choice when we are younger become outdated or over-popular. You may also get a new last name along the way that ruins a few of your great options -- Lily White just isn't nice; Willow White is out, as well.

Everyone has a different set of criteria for choosing a baby name. Some want all of their family to start with the same letter. Some want all Biblical names; others use family names. Some like to go with what's popular; some make up a name no one has ever heard or could ever pronounce or spell. Certain number of syllables. Alliteration or not. Ancestry. Personality evoked.

So for the next five-and-a-half months or so you can help us with this process! I'll share with you our criteria and some of our favorites and you can chime in with ideas. My brother, Jeff, is great at thinking of all of the ways a name can be made fun of (probably out of practice) - which I totally appreciate! It doesn't matter to me that your third-grade nemesis had a name that is on my list, but if it makes you think of eating donuts (Duncan - still on my list) or an industrial town in New Jersey (Camden - also still on my list), I want to know! Life is hard enough sometimes; I don't want to burden my child further by providing him or her with fodder for bullies!

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, February 7

I Need a Win!

The Olympics start this Friday evening. I LOVE the Olympics! More importantly, right now I need the Olympics. Oregon lost in a heart-breaking football game to Oklahoma. Seattle lost the big game that I was sure we were slated to win against Pittsburgh. And just the other night, in one of the few regular season games that I will probably watch entirely, the Blazers lost to Denver, after having led throughout. I'm feeling a little deflated by sports these days.

I am looking forward to the swelling with pride (and a little jealousy) at seeing my team in red, white & blue march into the stadium, the Olympic flame overlooking the ceremonies in the background. I anticipate the lump in my throat at hearing our national anthem at the countless medal ceremonies. I love the emotional catharsis of weeping as sports announcers recount, with the obligatory slow-mo and soft-focus effects, the stories of the athletes' determination and sacrifice that brought them to these games. The Games.

I feel better already.