Thursday, January 31, 2008

a great moment...

Today I got to do something very special. We have been in contact with a family about 45 mins. away who have been in the LONG process of bringing 2 boys (brothers) home from Nico's orphanage in Haiti. (One of the boys was actually in Nico's room with him.) They are awesome kids, Nick and I got to meet them when we visited Nico back in March.

I had the joy of being there at the airport today when her husband (who had gone down to pick them up) came home with the boys. It was amazing.

Welcome home boys.

A few thoughts

Again, please pray for my baby niece Evie who is currently at the hospital and will be on the operating table in about 10 minutes... It's really weird, I am having a hard time with her having to go through this. Lately, for a bunch of different reasons I have been re-hashing Josiah's surgery and I feel like I can barely breathe when I think about it and look at the photos. I believe in my heart that Evie will be fine, but the trauma that's left in the wake of having to go through such a hard situation is kind of hard to process. Thanks for your prayers for my niece Evie, my sister Melody, and my brother-in-law Chris. The upshot of all this is that Josiah won't be the only one in the family with a freaky chest scar. :)

And obviously this is totally unrelated to the above thought-- my other sister, Gretchen, just started a blog. She's a pretty funny, sassy chick-- check it out:


Anyone have any good suggestions for insomnia?
(I know they say you shouldn't look at a computer screen... I am just tired of laying in bed wide awake when I am so dang tired!)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Pray for little Evie girl...

My niece Evie is having surgery tomorrow (Thursday) to remove a cyst on her esophagus. While the outlook is good and they don't expect complications, it is somewhat of a major surgery, and she will be in the hospital for several days.

Please pray for Evie-- that God would protect and heal her, and that my sister Melody and her husband Chris could get through the next several days with peace.

Here's sweet Evie... (she's just about 6 weeks younger than Josiah) Man, our family is not having luck having birth defect- free babies... :)Couldn't you just eat her with a spoon??? (not literally, of course-- that would be sick)

Another one of those things in life that's just not fair...

So I mentioned in my rant yesterday that Nick and I have joined a new gym. This is a change for our family as I have just always had a gym membership and Nick didn't really workout at all. He's one of those naturally thin people. (grrr.) I keep waiting for that to catch up with him, but so far no luck. :)

A few years ago Nick and I trained together for a 15K up in NY. It was a lot of fun. (Well, actually the running part was not that much fun, but training for it and finishing it together WAS fun.) But quite literally, that was the last time he's run (or worked out in ANY way) in the past two and a half years.

Me on the other hand... I bust my butt. While I did get a little off track with while pregnant (and gained about 2 metric tons of weight) and after the boys came home, I have had a pretty regular gym routine for several years now. I haven't really attempted much running lately but I do regular cardio (usually elliptical or stair stepper, but occasionally jog.)

Okay, now you have the back story...

So on Sunday Nick and I drop the kids off at childcare and head to the gym to workout for the first time together in a really long time. We pick side by side treadmills and I choose a hill program and start walking hard. I glance over at Nick and he appears to be in an easy jog-- at six miles an hour. (Which is a ten minute mile, which is pretty much the fastest I could ever run, even after running for a few years... apparently I am not built for speed.) So this irritates me a little so I decide to show him that I can hang with him and "jog" for a few minutes too. I up my speed to about 5.0 and start "jogging" (which for my stubby little legs actually feels more like a sprint) and feel a bit satisfied with myself. (Well for maybe 2-3 minutes at which point I felt I couldn't keep up with it and had to lower my speed.)

I glance over at Nick and notice he's starting to sweat. I feel happy on the inside about that, until I look at his treadmill and see he's running at 7.6 miles per hour. (which is just over a seven and a half minute mile). Now I am hacked.

So I do the mature thing and start whining about it, "Nick, I can't believe you can run that fast after literally not running for over 2 years." He admits it's pushing him a little and after a half mile, lowers it to an "easy" 6.8 miles per hour (still less than a nine minute mile) to finish up his run.

Seriously. What the heck? Soooo irritating.

Oh well. I think I might have kicked his butt with weights. :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My rant for the day.

This has ALWAYS been something that has bugged me. I almost didn't blog about it because I thought I might offend some people and then I remembered, "Oh yeah. This is MY blog. I can write anything I want."

A little background on where this is all coming from-- Nick and I joined a new gym. It's pretty awesome and I like that it is more of a family environment than the one I used to go to. The old place was fine-- but it was a much younger crowd and so it tended to be somewhat of a "meat market" during certain times of the day. This gym has far fewer inappropriately dressed women, though there are some. Which brings me to my point--

Okay, so when did a sports bra become a shirt? I really don't get it. It's called a sports BRA. I understand that you get hot and sweaty when you are working out-- I totally understand that. But men are required to wear shirts at the gym. Is it REALLY so hot that you can't stand a tank top over your BRA? In pretty much any public place it's an understood thing--"No shoes, no shirt, no service." So what's the deal with women prancing around in BRAS in public? Seriously. I don't get it.

Now, this is not just a rant because I am jealous of people who have a great enough body to "pull off" wearing a sports bra without a shirt. I am jealous of them, but I don't care if I looked like Tyra freakin' Banks, I would still wear a SHIRT in public. And I will ABSOLUTELY require my daughter to do so as well.

It is distressing to me that the standard of modesty in our society is so far gone. How do we raise boys to respect girls when girls are respecting themselves? It's not just at the gym-- it's everywhere. Victoria Secret has a "fashion show" (I use that term VERY loosely!) on NETWORK television. They have 10 foot tall advertisements in the mall of unclothed women. And Abercrombie-- they literally have a storefront right now where you can see the naked butt of some guy in the mall for all the passers by to see. What? I thought they sold CLOTHES!

Nick and I were at a public beach this summer and I saw a dad and a daughter (maybe 14-15 years old) playing with one of those Velcro catch games and she was bouncing out of this teeny tiny triangle bikini. I am sorry, maybe I am just old, but that is NOT okay. Who knows what kind of scumbags were taking it all in? You are a child-- put some clothes on! As a mother of boys this scares the heck out of me. How can we teach and train our boys to value purity when this is what we are giving them to work with?

So if you dress inappropriately, I politely ask you-- save your hot bod for your husband. You're not respecting yourself (or those around you) with your nudity. Modest is hottest girls.

Monday, January 28, 2008

My favorite moment of the day

Staying home with the kids gets lonely sometimes. So my favorite moment of the day is when Nick gets home. However, a close second, is hearing the mail truck approaching. I LOVE checking the mail. I know that probably sound really stupid but I really, really look forward to it each day. I actually find myself kind of bummed on postal holidays because I don't get to check the mail. I sometimes get mad at Nick if he checks the mail and doesn't leave it for me to do. (Although I am usually out there 2.4 nanoseconds after it's delivered into our box, so thankfully that's not often.)

"Why?" you may be asking? I really don't know. I think every day I am secretly hoping for something great in the mail.

What do I define as something great? Here's a few options, in order of increasing greatness:
A particularly interesting sale flier ( once a week??),
A note or a card from friend/family member (maybe once or twice a month at best)
A package for the kids from Nana (quarterly??)
Or maybe if I am really lucky, an unexpected check. (Almost never-- 1-2 times a year?)

The problem is that I sort of get my hopes up each day, especially around birthdays in our home, and more often than not there's nothing but bills, EOB's from all the kids' millions of dr. appts, credit card offers, and other various kinds of junk. In fact, if you do the math of the above mentioned scenarios, we're talking maybe 68-80 times a year that something good will happen. (Then, of course, if we add the Christmas season, we could say that we get good mail for about 20 days in a row, so now we're looking at 88-100 days per year.) If you figure we get mail 6 days a week, minus probably 20ish postal holidays per year, we're looking at something like 292 days of mail delivery each year. That's still just one in three days that "good" mail will come.

So that leads me to mention my least favorite time of the day... (after the moment Nick leaves, of course) After mail has been delivered and I realize I have to wait another whole day before there's the potential of a new postal surprise.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A chip off the old block...

Check out the eyes...

The internal struggle of Mary vs. Martha

I have been MIA on the blog the last few days... all sorts of non blog-worthy drama going on here in the Mangine family...

Today I taught in Kidspointe North at church. (This is for 3-5 graders.) I haven't taught in there in a while as I have moved down to preschool. It was fun to see all the "big kids" again.

So today the lesson was on Mary and Martha-- the importance of just being still and quiet before God... sitting with Jesus and letting him change us from the inside BEFORE we go out and try to do, do, do. Well, the truth is that I am a do-er. So often I slip into Martha mode and focus so much on what needs to be done that I don't remember to sit at the feet of Jesus very often. Even during my quiet times, I feel sort of task oriented... that might not be the right word, but it's the best I can think of.

As I was sitting there "being" Mary, I was so convicted that it was just a part I was playing.... my inner monologue was saying "the role of Mary will be played today by Gwenn." I felt like a hypocrite. I was sitting there telling the kids, "this is the best way to live" when I don't have very much experience with that lately. Do as I say kids, not as I do...

It's hard though, because the struggle is in the balance. I have to feed kids, change diapers, make supper, wash dishes, do laundry... and that's just the beginning of it. By serving my family I know I am serving the Lord, by serving in the church or working for the Haitian Children's Home I am serving the Lord, BUT... where in all of that is what Jesus would call the "one thing that is needed" and "the better choice???"

My friends Kris and Deena (who are both Martha's) agree that Martha gets a bad wrap. I totally think this is true. How do accomplish the things that must be accomplished daily for our families, how do we take part in a thriving church and/or ministry with out the "doing." If I am honest, part of me gets a little irked that Martha got rebuked. If it weren't for Martha's, how would we eat? How would the dishes get done? How would we have relevant environments at church for people to meet Jesus and grow? What about caring for widows and orphans? What about James 2 where it talks about faith without works being dead?

This isn't something I have figured out, so please let me know if you have it figured out... I would love to know.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Moms don't get affirmation?

This post may border on the edge of TMI, but it's just hilarious. (well, I think it is).

As you probably know, mothers don't really get very much privacy. We are working on that with the kids, but they are still learning. So unless you remember to lock the bathroom door, there are no guarantees a kid won't barge in.

So today I was in the bathroom and Nico barges in, hears me peeing, starts clapping and says, "Good Boy!" Who says stay-at-home moms don't get affirmation from their kids?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Again, I am "over posting" today but...

... this was just too dang cute not to post about.

Nico likes to wear Nick's stuff. Today he was wearing Nick's hat (you southerners would call it a "tobaggan"), and the necklace Nick always wears.

Now let me say that I think Nick looks awesome in these two items (some might even use the term "smokin' hot" :), but Nico has brought these couple of things to a new level of cool.

Almost THREE inches.

That's how much Nico has grown since we last measured him in July when he came home. Two and seven-eighths inches. And he's gained six and a half pounds.

This is a kid who went into an orphanage at 22 lbs when he was 15 months old, and came home to us at 22 lbs when we was he was 32 months old.

So in 6 months we are talking 6 pounds and almost 3 inches...

I would call that "thriving."

I am going to shop around...

...however, I wanted to explain the $4000 price tag of the dental implant since so many people have contacted me saying they thought that was too high.

I do have other options, like a bridge or a big gaping hole. However, the cost for the bridge is very similar and the "life expectancy" is much shorter. Also, because we plan to live in Haiti in the near future, we won't have access to a whole lot of dental care, and the percentage of failure of bridges is higher than the percentage of failure of implants. The big gaping hole option is not appealing to me because I am far too vain. This is the most permanent option that will hopefully mean once it's done we don't have to mess with it again.

The $4000 price tag is for the whole deal-- not just the implant. It includes the extraction of the old broken tooth, an apparatus that I wear during the nearly year long process so I don't appear toothless, the bone grafting (necessary to fortify the bone for the implant), the surgery to implant the screw, and the crown on top of it all. The whole process takes almost a year. And since things are done at different times, it's not like we have to pay the whole amount at once. There's a fee for each step. (I hope that makes sense.) It still stinks though.

We have very lousy dental insurance-- it won't cover this at all because we have the "low option coverage." (which I am learning is basically useless since we pay a lot for it each month and we get almost nothing covered.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I LOVE Zenni Optical!

I was in need of some new glasses as mine were pretty scratched and so everything always looked foggy.

So once again I ordered some new specs from

Okay, this place is brilliant. I got two new pairs of glasses (prescription glasses), and my total (including shipping) was about $21.00.

Yes seriously. They have EIGHT DOLLAR GLASSES! And they aren't really ugly either-- they actually have some cool styles... Here are my two new pair:

In my next life I am going to be a dentist.

A few weeks ago I hit myself in the face with my car door when I had my hands full. Brilliant, huh?

So with this little accident, one of my teeth becomes a little loose. I wasn't too worried about it, and figured it would "tighten" back up, but no, it didn't. So, FINALLY today I made a dentist appointment to have it looked at.

Yeah, it's not loose-- it's BROKEN (horizontally) above the gum line. So that means it's UNFIXABLE. I have to get a dental implant to the tune of FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS! (Yes, I DO mean AMERICAN dollars.) Seriously.

What I hate is that we are spending this much money and will basically have nothing new to show for it. I mean, yeah, I will have a new tooth, but big whoop. I already have one of those there so it's not like anyone else will notice. It's not like you can drive around in a new tooth. If we're going to spend 4 grand, I feel like we should be able to pick what we spend it on. Grrrr.

Apparently I picked the wrong profession. Who knew I wouldn't make the big bucks as a stay-at-home mom??? The big money is in dentistry.

Monday, January 21, 2008

We have a tooth!

Josiah does, that is. Today, at 7 months and 21 days old, he has a tooth poking through.

(The rest of us actually have teeth too, but that's not particularly noteworthy now is it?)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Our "massive" snowstorm

I will freely admit that I am a bit ridiculous about the snow. Having grown up in NJ where we got a decent amount of snow every now and then, I sort of miss the snowy joy that my kids are missing out on. Yeah, snow is a pain in the rear to drive in and all that... blah, blah, blah. So what? Snowball fights are FUN. Snow angels are FUN. I get REALLY excited when I hear snow is coming. It's ridiculous. I sometimes can't sleep if I know snow is coming. (I know, I need help.)

So yesterday I was actually getting a little depressed when it hit noon and it was still raining and our promised 2-4" of snow looked less and less likely. It finally DID start snowing at about 2:30PM and went on for some time, though it never really accumulated. Still, it was fun taking a walk with the kids in the snow-- using the snow on the car to make snowballs for a snowball fight (which, in case you're interested, I TOTALLY won... Nia and Nico can't make snowballs at all, so I pretty much took both of them on at once... not to toot my own horn or anything. :)

Here are some pics from the snowy madness--

This was Nico's first snow... he just liked putting his face up to the sky and letting it fall on him.
Nia looked like a psychopath running around trying to catch snowflakes on her ridiculously long tongue.

Afterward, we came in and roasted marshmellows by the fire... topless apparently.

This last picture has noting to do with anything-- it was just cute. (And yes, that's a Barbie doll Josiah is playing with-- you got a problem with that???)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Elder Mangine, a felon???

Raise your hand if you've ever had to take a screaming kid out of a store/mall/playground etc. *raises hand* It's kind of embarrassing, but most times you just get sympathetic looks from all the other parents as if to say, "I've been there." Not so much today.

This is an ABSOLUTELY 100% true story that happened to us today. Our family went to the Southpoint Mall to just walk around a bit, let the kids have lunch and play in the indoor playground, etc. It was going smashingly until Nico had a tantrum and it was clear we needed to get home for naps. Nico was pitching a huge fit and the acoustics up in the food court are such that it just resonates and resonates and resonates for all to hear. Nick and I are actually pretty sensitive about these kinds of things. We don't feel like our kids should have the right to ruin everyone else's meal when we are out in public, so we usually very quickly remove them from places if they decide to throw a fit. (Ask Bonnie Kovacik about Baba Ganoush some time.) So Nick snatched up Nico to bring him out to the car while I brought up the rear with Nia and Josiah.

So picture it... Nick, carrying out a kicking screaming black kid. Can you see where this is going?

I am walking through the parking lot to our car and I see flashing lights near our car, a small crowd on the sidewalk nearby and a little girl yelling across to her dad, "Did they arrest him?"
Still didn't really click with me. I get closer to our car and realize that the flashing lights are actually the mall security blocking OUR CAR in so Nick (Elder Mangine) couldn't take off with Nico. I get there and I am asked by a woman, "Is that your husband and son?" It all quickly made sense to me and I realized that everyone was thinking that Nick was kidnapping a child from the mall. He had explained that we had adopted Nico, but then offered the information that I would be coming along soon and could verify his story. So they waited for me, and I did (in fact) verify his story. They believed us and let us go, but the story doesn't end there.

When we got home our answering machine light was blinking. It was an investigator from the Durham Police Department. They apparently used our license plate to track us down and wanted to verify our story. Apparently there were other people who had called it in from the food court, as they knew all about the tantrum starting there and lasting all the way through the mall, across the parking lot and to the car.

If I was looking in at this situation from the outside, I might have been inclined to jump to conclusions as well, so I do understand how this happened. We can see the humor in this situation, but the first thing Nick did when we got home was print out a family picture and put it in his wallet for next time.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hot Corn, Cold Corn

Here's Nia singing one of our bluegrass favorites... it's slightly modified you'll notice and has an ending you don't want to miss!

Well crud.

I am reading the most amazing book. It's called Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp. Okay, it's seriously one of the most amazing books I have ever read. Very eye-opening... discusses the importance of not just controlling your child's behavior, but how to shape their heart, which is the motivation FOR behavior. So awesome. TOTALLY reccommend it to all parents or parents-to-be.

The bad news is that it turns out I am a pretty bad parent. :)

In all seriousness, I really believe that the truths in this book will be transformational as Nick and I raise our kids. Check it out.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Why I love little girls...

So Nia had a girlfriend over tonight and she spent the afternoon making plans as to what she and her friend would do. She packed "ballet bags" with leotards and ballet slippers for each of them and was really excited to do "Bella Dancerella." Here's a cutie pic of the two of them. (it's funny to me that they look so similar from the back.)

And here's why I love little boys:
While the girls did Bella, Nico dressed up like a pirate cowboy and made sure everyone was safe and protected.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

This isn't fun anymore.

Okay- three kids. One stomach bug. The laundry being created is MIND blowing.
(Plus Josiah also has double ear infections and thrush.) Yep, fun times at our house.

I pity the fool...

Okay, so I don't know if it's wrong or not to keep transforming Nico into different celebrities with each haircut, but I am so excited to have boys for this very reason. I already have a few in mind for little Josiah in a few months. (tee hee)

Here is Nico as "Mr. T."

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

For Pete's Sake...

(or if you're Nia, "Repeat Sake.")

Nico is all of a sudden not doing very well with the potty training thing. It's driving me crazy! Then this happened today and I about went over the edge.

I was feeding Josiah a bottle and had set out the kid's pajamas to put on them after I was done feeding. On Nico's pile was a diaper for the night time. Nico comes out the bathroom all bare bottomed and is just kind of playing while I am feeding the baby. The next thing I know he's saying, "Mama, Gade! (look!)"

Yeah, he'd completely PUT THE DIAPER ON HIMSELF. This was an actual diaper, not a Pull Up. For Pete's Sake... the kid can change his own diaper but he can't pee on the potty??? Aargh!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

After the do...

Perhaps Nia is "secretly" Haitian???

Ever since we've been back from Haiti, Nia has wanted me to do her hair like the girls at the Haitian Children's Home do. It's not so easy for my clumsy fingers to get things as straight and neat as the girls do, but I am proud of today's effort!

The development of a personality

It's fun to see my kids develop a personality. Josiah is such an awesome kid. Here's a funny pic from yesterday when we were all playing outside in the 72 degree weather!

Hey, guys, whatcha doing? Can I come?

And then I deserve a medal for this next one. My son absolutely refuses to eat anything green-- ie, peas, greenbeans, etc. SO... I started making baby food and "hiding" it in there. Here he is positively enjoying a 50/50 mixture of peas and blueberries. (I know, sound really good-- I have some more in my freezer if you're interested!)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Josiah's turn for the snot pic

Last post for today-- (well, probably) (In case you can't tell00 he blew an ACTUAL bubble with it-- I am so proud.)

My "fashionable" feet

So yeah, I am a pretty LOW maintenance kind of gal-- fashion and all that just isn't my bag. I am not a very girly girl and probably only get around to makeup once a week at best. Heck I am lucky if I get a shower every OTHER day. But I am okay with that. It's not something that bothers me-- it's just who I am, and Nia's not embarrassed by me yet... well, not often anyway. :)

So a few weeks ago I was in Sally Beauty Supply buying some products for Nico and noticed these fake toenails the clearance rack. (I mean really, really on the clearance rack... almost free.) So my curiosity got the better of me and I bought them. However, I totally forgot about them. UNTIL THIS MORNING! I was digging around the junk drawer when I found the orange beauties... and 5 minutes later--

TA DAA!They are "something" aren't they? I just don't know how I am going to get my shoes on when I have to go get Nia at preschool...

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Josiah jumping

Posted this for you-- Josiah LOVES the jumper...

Random weekend thoughts

1. Dude, I LOVE my husband. Just because I do, but today ESPECIALLY because he let me have a THREE hour long nap today. THAT was awesome.

2. The Office is the funniest show ever created. Nick got season 1, 2, + 3 for his birthday and we've been watching them the past few days. Holy smokes. I have seen most of these episodes 2-3 times each already and I STILL laugh out loud. They are hilarious. When is this writer's strike going to be over? I am feeling the need for some new episodes.

3. Nick has been following the 08 Election pretty closely. He's a big Mike Huckabee fan. I sort of want him to win just because I think it would be funny to "President Huckabee" running our country. How funny does that sound?

Friday, January 4, 2008

The things we learn from our kids

Last night I was just totally frazzled from a rough day with Josiah-- he's really been super crabby and yesterday about took me over the edge. So then Nick comes into this "hostile" environment unknowingly after work. Well, long story short, we're starting to get into an argument. (And yes, I know that you should never argue in front of kids-- there are a lot of things I mean to do that I do not...) Anyway, it's starting to get ugly-- we've started in with the silent treatment and Nia just comes over to me and hugs me and then goes over to Nick and hugs him and says, "So. Guys. What can I do to get you back on the same team?"

So shortly after this, I had to leave to go out to a meeting, when I came back Nia had left me this note. (Nick said she was insistent on making it for me.) It says, "Dear Mom. I love you and I am sorry you got in trouble with my Dad. Love, Nia.

Nothing like being humbled by a 4 year old.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Nico Praying

So I have told many of you that Nico just pretty much blabbers all day long... here's an example from when he was praying yesterday... kind of cute, huh?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Okay, one more thing

about last night...
I came down this morning and this was the sight in my kitchen. It cracked me up, because it looked like we had a really wild party last night. What's funny is that half of the bottles were still nearly full and the others were sparkling juices. I poured a ton of champagne down the sink this morning.

Yeah, we're wild at the Mangine house.

Happy Haitian Independence Day!

And Happy New Year too!

Okay, so last night was a BLAST. We invited just a few friends over who all have small children like we do. We had them all bring their pj's (the kids, not the parents) and we just had the kids go to bed around nine. Even though many of the kids didn't actually go to SLEEP until after midnight, they stayed put in their respective rooms and the adults could actually have a party without kids.

It was really, really good for me. I have been really struggling lately and it was SO nice to just hang out with some friends, drink some wine and laugh and laugh and laugh. In fact we laughed so hard that one person (who shall remain nameless-- what happens at the Mangine's stays at the Mangine's) claim they peed a little. It was the first time I felt like an adult (and not just a mom) in a really, really long time. The only bummer is that my internal clock seems to be set for 6:30AM no matter what I do. It doesn't matter that we stayed up until almost 2... oh well. I will be tired today... no big deal.

Happy New Year everyone!