Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cloth/Gdiapering update

I am about a week into cloth/gdiapering. So far it's actually going really well.
Here are a few observations so far:
  • 4 gdiaper covers (gpants) aren't enough for 2 boys, even though Nico is only in them for nap/bed. We need more and I was able to get a two more at a great price, so they are on the way.
  • 36 prefolds is MORE than enough for 2 boys. Even when we double up at night.
  • Speaking of doubling up-- I really need to have my mother-in-law help me cut/sew some prefolds in half-- I need extra coverage in the front at night, but I don't need it in the back and so two prefolds just makes it too bulky.
  • The laundry doesn't really bother me because really, how hard is it to wash and fold a load of diapers every 2-3 days. It's like folding towels. The thing I generally hate about laundry is the folding/putting away. Neither of these is an issue with diapering.
  • At Melody's suggestion, I mixed up a box of baking soda with a few drops of lavendar essential oil and just sprinkle a spoonful in the diaperpail after every wet diaper-- it really does cut down on odor I think.
  • I absolutely hate changing a poopy diaper with cloth and the toilet swishing still makes me nauseous. I wore rubber gloves today (disposable) and that helped, but then I was sort of negating the environmental benefit of using cloth diapers, now wasn't I? Maybe reusable rubber gloves would work-- and then I could just wash my hands with them on to clean them after swishing... ideas anyone?
  • The disposable liners work great for us, but I have used them very infrequently. I would imagine that the case we have will last us a long, long time.
  • I actually have buy-in from Nick. He doesn't just approve, he actually participates.
That's all for now. One funny story. Today all our gpants were dirty and in the wash. Nick came home for lunch and noticed Josiah in a disposable diaper. He literally said this to the baby, "Josiah, why are you wearing that landfill filler?" It totally cracked me up. He's like the proverbial ex-smoker...

"Ode to Coffee" by Gwendolen Magine

Oh my sweet morning brew
How do I love you?
For you I would do

I adore every bean
So much it's obscene
It makes Nick Mangine

It would be a sad day
If we ever part ways
And then have to say

So I banish that thought
For my heart you've caught
Into you I'm bought

Monday, September 29, 2008

Underpants observations

I have been making several underpants observations in the past few days.

I went to the Kids Everywear consignment sale a couple weeks ago and bought my kids some "pre-owned" items. I really had enough everyday clothes for them, but I needed a few specific things-- shoes, underwear, and socks. Now, many people may be grossed out at the thought of buying used ("pre-owned") underwear. I am not. Well, at least not for my kids. I AM skeeved out about buying them for me. Double standard? Yes. But if I am going to buy new stuff for me, I am going to have to scrimp somewhere! :)

But seriously, I wash it. It's just not that big of a deal. And I save a ton of money. I bought about 10 pair for each of the big kids for about $1.50. (I went on the 50% off day.) That's less than eight cents a pair. And they look brand new. (And besides, if I am going to be a missionary, I am going to have to learn to be okay with things far more objectionable than pre-owned underwear.)

So- obervation #1-- there really isn't anything cuter than a little teeny boy like Nico wearing boxer briefs. WOW. Cute. I would totally take a pic and post it but I think that might be against the law. Nico feels so grown-up and asks to wear his "Daddy underpants" every day. I totally love it.

#2- I unknowingly bought bikini style underpants for Nia. Ten pairs. She's used to the granny up-to-your-sternum variety. They basically look the same, they're not like string bikini or anything, they are just a lower rise so I didn't think it would be a big deal. Yesterday I put a bunch of them in her drawers. This morning as she was getting dressed she yelled, "Mom, these underpants don't fit."

I went in there and realized she DID in fact notice a difference. They were cut significantly lower than her usual variety, but they fit fine and I thought they were cute. So I told her that. She wasn't satisfied. She said they weren't comfortable and she felt like a baby because they were too small. (Which they weren't.) So I pulled out the card that always works with her when I am trying to talk her into wearing something she doesn't want to wear. "I am pretty sure Courtney Stoner wears underpants like these." (Courtney Stoner is a teenager in our church she totally loves.) That's all it took. She loves them, and they are suddenly comfortable.

I do realize that this is manipulative and bordering on lying. (I don't think it's ACTUALLY lying because I would imagine she doesn't wear the granny style... but that's somewhat irrelevant.) But the other day I had this light bulb moment and realized that in parenting there is a fine line between encouraging and manipulating. Rewarding and bribing. Disciplining and dictating. Sometimes "because I said so" is necessary and appropriate. That was one of the things I swore I would never say. But I am learning that (to quote my good friend CC Claybrook,) "I did a lot of my best parenting before I had children."

Tomorrow Night

We're having a meeting to talk about our move to Haiti... we'd love you to be there.

It's 6:30PM in Cary-- near Lochmere. There is no childcare at this one, although there will be at the rest of them this month.

If you're interested, please email nick@haitianchildrenshome.org so we can plan on you being there!


Friday, September 26, 2008

Five for Friday

Top 5 Reasons I am Glad Nick is Coming Home Tomorrow.

5. Watching presidential debates is more fun when he is here because he's far smarter than me and can therefore dumb things down for me if necessary. Plus we enjoy making fun of people together. (On both sides of the fence-- we're totally bipartisan. For example, I am noticing that McCain never opens his mouth when he talks and Obama blinks excessively-- we'd find really relevant things to zero in on.)

4. I get a little spooked at night sometimes when he's not here.

3. My boys had goldfish crackers and chocolate milk for dinner. I had a pint (yes, a whole one) of Ben and Jerry's. We need a voice of reason.

2. I am looking forward to taking Trazadone (and therefore sleep) again-- I don't want to take it when he's not here because I am afraid something would happen with the kids and I wouldn't hear it.

1. He's in EVERY way, my better half. Everything about him makes everything about me better.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It's all how you spin it...

Last night at about 10:30PM I took Josiah into the ER after his fever reached 105.1F and I couldn't get it down. It wasn't our best hospital visit ever. I could list out a bunch of reasons why it was a frustrating experience for me and for poor little J-man... And I am tempted to, but instead, I started thinking about all the positives of this experience.

  1. We live in a country where people have superior access to emergency medical care. I know many would argue this point. However, my guess is that these people haven't seen what passes for medical care in less fortunate parts of the world. Complain if you want, but I can give you first-hand accounts of what it's like and how it turns out.
  2. I have not made it a secret that Josiah is a pretty rough and tumble guy. He's not usually very willing to snuggle or give much physical affection. However, last night, all he wanted was to lie in my arms. He cried out for me over and over again and looked to me to soothe him. As I held him there in my arms for hours, I was very aware of the fact that I don't know when I will get the chance to do that again... It was nice. I just kept running my lips over the top of his head and tried to be very present in the moment.
  3. I have fantastic in-laws. My father-in-law came over yesterday when I had to bring the bigs to swimming lessons. And then just a few hours later I called my mother-in-law to come over so I could take Josiah to the ER. They are really saving my tail while Nick is out of town...
  4. Josiah will probably sleep all day since he was up almost all night. This means I can probably snooze a little too while my bigs watch TV until their eyes get red and pussy. (As my father would say.)
There's probably more, but my brain is fuzzy.

I hope today you will take a look at whatever is facing you and spin it so you can see the promised mercy and provision of the God who created it all.

Edited to add:
I thought of one more-- when your kid starts out life with open heart surgery, it takes a lot to really get spooked. :)

This is why my dad rocks as a grandfather

well, if you disregard the spill Josiah took... :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

gdiaper update

I wanted to put that in the title since I knew that most male readers would probably not be interested in the ins and outs of diapering, g or other.

No more clogs. I did flush 3-4 other liners so far. My problem was that I needed to swish it a bit more before flushing. Which is not what they insinuate on the instruction video on the website.

So far no leaks, although I haven't used them overnight yet.

So you may be asking me, "I thought you were giving CLOTH diapering a whirl, not all gdiapering. Why all the reports about the disposable inserts?" Excellent question, I am glad you asked. Being that I ordered my prefolds online, I did not get them yet. I bought a 12pack from Walmart yesterday because I just couldn't stand it and I wasn't sure when they were going to come in. HOWEVER, it's not as easy as just throwing them on the kid. FIRST, you have to prewash them like 5-6 times in hot water or else they won't be absorbent. They are currently on wash 4 as I type.

So-- overall impressions so far in no particular order:
  • There is definitely a lot more cost and labor upfront.
  • I may not be filling landfills with these bad boys, but I am using a lot of water and electricity.
  • There is something that feels good inside about flushing an all-paper/no plastic diaper and its contents rather than throwing it away-- although there's something that feels bad about swishing a dirty plastic liner in the bowl with the old hands. (You may barf now.)


Hey all- I want to tell you about a couple of awesome events that are coming up for a GREAT cause, one very close to my heart-- adoption.

Some of our very close friends, Stephen and CC Claybrook are getting ready to bring their son, Henry, home from China very soon. Please click HERE to learn them and to hear about a couple of events that I am pretty sure will knock your socks off...

Please at least take a look-- we love this family like crazycakes!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

News flash

The very first gdiaper I tried (with the flushable insert) clogged the toilet and flooded the bathroom floor. For all you gdiaper users out there, YES, I did tear out the inner core and use the swish stick.

Monday, September 22, 2008

An invite for all the local folk--

Hey blog readers--

We sent this out to a bunch of people we know and love locally and wanted to make sure we didn't miss YOU... If you're local, you're invited. :) We need all the help we can get.


Hello Friends--

We will be the first to admit this is a mass email. We know that's
not a very personal way to connect with you, but we want to try to
make a way to connect personally, and this seems the most efficient
way to get that connection started.

Great! We're glad to see you're still reading. Thank you! We beg of
you-- read on.

Well it seems that word has spread pretty effectively at this point,
and MOST people know that the entire "Mangine Five" will be
permanently re-locating to the beautiful southern coast of Haiti.
Here's the thirty second catch-up for those of you who don't know
about this:

In July 2005 Gwenn went to Haiti for the first time and fell in love
with it. We began the adoption of our son, Nico, from Haiti later
that year, and it was soon after that our entire family began feeling
a pull to Haiti. Since August 2006 we've worked with The Haitian
Children's Home (www.haitianchildrenshome.org)
. In that time, we've visited Haiti often, and have felt called as a
family to move to Haiti and become houseparents for orphaned and
abandoned children with the Haitian Children's Home. There. Now
we're all on the same page.

This is a really, really exciting time in our lives. We'd be lying if
we told you that the thought of leaving everything familiar didn't
make us a little nervous at times. However, more often than
nervousness, we are absolutely BUBBLING over with excitement about it.
To quote Gwenn's father, Steve, "We are so excited about it we have
to sit on our hands to keep from flagging down cars." :)

We recently began support-raising for this endeavor and although it
can be a bit daunting to ask people for help, we really do believe
that we're called to be in Haiti, and that God will provide us with
what we need to get there.

This email is not about asking you for money. So, for the rest of the
email, we give you permission to totally put that out of your head.
What we are asking is for the opportunity to tell you a little more
about our story and our vision for the future of our family. And this
is something we would like to do in person. So here's what we came up

We've selected 8 dates between now and the end of October where we
will be sharing our story. We've asked some of our local friends to
help us, and they have graciously agreed to host some smaller group
gatherings in their homes. We've tried to plan meetings for many
different locations in the Triangle and on nearly every day of the
week. We want you to come.

These meetings will be mostly just us sharing stories and pictures and
a little info about what we are doing. At the end we will talk about
ways you can support us. But please know this-- you will NOT be put
on the spot in any way. We will NOT be taking up a collection. You
will NOT be asked to commit to any kind of financial giving on the
spot. We just want to share. We believe that the vision and the
mission we've been given speaks for itself. We will not coerce or
guilt anyone into giving. That's just not who we are. We believe
that God has a plan for our financial provision, and we understand
that won't include everyone who comes to these meetings. That's okay
with us. No pressure. We believe there is value in many people
getting to hear our story and vision in our own words. There will be
light snacks and free childcare.

So just to recap. The only thing we are asking is for you to come and
listen. We believe there is value in our friends hearing our story
from our own lips. We think God has big plans for the Haitian
Children's Home and we want you to come even if you know you are not
able to provide financial support.

Here are the dates, times and locations:
9/30/2008 Tuesday 6:30 - 8:00 PM Bonnie and Tom
Kovacik-- Cary, Lochmere Area-- NO CHILDCARE AT THIS MEETING

10/2/2008 Thursday 6:30 - 8:00 PM Melissa and Jason
Cowell-- Apex, off Olive Chapel Road

10/6/2008 Monday 6:30 - 8:00 PM Patti and Keith
Galloway-- Raleigh, Brier Creek Area

10/8/2008 Wednesday 6:30 - 8:00 PM Cathy and Steve
Riley-- Apex, off Olive Chapel Road

10/16/2008 Thursday 6:30 - 8:00 PM Kris and Dave
Loomis-- Cary, off Walnut Street

10/18/2008 Saturday 9:30 - 11:00 AM Cat and Howard
Lewis-- Apex, off Olive Chapel Road

10/22/2008 Wednesday 6:30 - 8:00 PM Andrea and Gerald
Petkau-- Cary, Cary Park

10/26/2008 Sunday 4:30 - 6:00 PM Shelly and Chris
West-- Apex, off Olive Chapel Road

Please feel free to invite anyone you want. This are not exclusive
events, we'd like to see and talk to as many people as possible. We
do ask that you RSVP so that we have an idea of how many people to
plan for. Just shoot us a quick reply. When you RSVP, we will send
out the address/directions to the meeting you select.

And just to repeat in case you missed it, we will be providing free
childcare at the meetings. (Please note-- no childcare at the 9/30

For those of you who like to do homework ahead of time-- you can check
out our family website for more info.
www.haitianchildrenshome.org/mangine .

With grateful hearts,
Nick and Gwenn Mangine

P.S. - We'd love permission to put you on our twice-monthly email
update, even if you're not planning to attend a meeting. Just send us
a reply with the subject add. And we'll get you on. Thanks.

Nick Mangine

I can't believe I am doing this.

My two sisters Melody and Gretchen, while not entirely crunchy (in fact Melody would call herself soggy), do sort of migrate towards crunchy things.

First know that the following diatribe is followed by me being converted in part, so my dear sisters, who I know are reading this, I beg of you to take no offense to what I am about to say.

They are frequent purchaser of work-at-home mom goods-- soaps, essential oils, tye dye, etc. Melody is all organic with her baby-- Evie eats kale and all sorts of other things that normal babies don't. (And with great fervor, might I add.)

They are both into attachment parenting-- baby wearing, co-sleeping, extended nursing, etc. They both make homemade laundry soap.

They also do other crunchy things that I won't mention here.

And they both cloth diaper, at least part time. (Or did cloth diaper when their kids were in diapers.) I took a vow early on in my parenting that I would never swish a poopy diaper in the toilet with my bare hands. I made fun of them to no end.

And then when we were together over the weekend, I did the math.

Holy smokes. I knew it was cheaper, but I didn't realize how much cheaper. In this day of increasing prices I have been looking for ways to cut "grocery" costs-- and folks, I think I found it.

Okay, let me start off this discussion by explaining that we pay about $85+ on diapers and pullups for the two boys. That's a lot of money each month.

What I am going to do cost me about $136 in start up costs, since I am using the gdiapers with cloth infant prefold inserts (and use the disposable FLUSAHABLE liners for when I am out in public, etc.) Both my boys wear the same size diaper and Nico only wears pullups at nighttime and nap, so I can use these on him too. I am purchasing the largest size since that is what they would wear and so I will not have to purchase any future sizes.

Here's how the cost breaks down:

2 starter packs of gdiapers (4 diaper covers, 8 snap in plastic liners, 20 disposable inserts, and 2 "swish sticks" yes, they are for what you think they are for.) ordered at diapers.com Cost: $53.98 includes free 2 day shipping.

One case (128) disposable g-diaper liners also from diapers.com. Cost: $52.00 -$10.00 coupon for first order= $42.00 + free 2 day shipping.

24 unbleached (seconds) cloth infant prefolds at http://www.little-lions.com/ plus one roll of 100 cloth diaper liners. These supposedly to lessen the need for swishing-- you just take the biodegradable liner out and flush it (hopefully with the poo.) Cost: $39.95 including shipping.

Grand Total: $135.93

So, now that I have made the investment, the only thing "consumable" in all of this is the flushable liners for the times I decide to use them.

Yes, I may have to "swish." But the way I figure the numbers, (including laundry soap) I should only spend MAYBE 1/4 of what I was spending each month-- probably less. (Yes, I will probably do about an extra 2-3 loads of laundry a week-- so there is a nominal extra cost for electricity and water--I don't think this should increase my costs too significantly.)

This is also something that I could bring with me to Haiti, should I be able to tolerate it. And would be a great savings each month. If I cannot tolerate it, my sister Melody offered to buy all the supplies from me.

So-- I guess I am all in.

Well, at least in two days I will be all in. I'll let you know how it goes.

Pray that swishing is not necessary too often.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Vacay Pics

Uncle Jon and Nico doing tricks.Micah, Uncle Jon and Nico checking out the bridesmaids... er, I mean the bridesmaid "dresses."

Nan, Grandad and the 7 grandkiddos

Katie giving Nico and Nia a row... (for all of you safety enthusiasts out there, notice that the boat was actually tied to the dock... that and the whole lifejacket scenario.)

Steve Goodale-- my favorite Salty Dog.

My man Nick. Remembering he should probably be wearing a life jacket halfway through his tubing adventure.

No caption necessary. Well, okay. Since you pressed-- Me and Nick.

Nick, looking like he's praising the God of the universe. He was actually standing on the bow of the boat yelling, "I am the king of the world."

Josiah chillin' on the boat...

Some VERY transparent video

So. Yeah. Lake Gaston.

Because I know my family well and how much we all ADORE the spotlight, I was inspired by the movie Dan in Real Life to orchestrate a family talent show on the last day of the vacay.

Here are a couple of videos... the latter of which I am not entirely sure I really want on the internet.

First, "Nick the Great" makes a comeback.

And then, (and I can't believe I am actually posting this), ladies and gentlemen I give you--"Nicksy Mountain Melodies"

(And yes, I am the "mountain" in the middle-- in between my husband Nick and my sister Melody.)

We are SUCH dorks.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

We're back.

Dear Blog,

Sorry it's been a while. While we were at the lake with my family we only had dial-up. 28.8kbs was our connection speed. It was UNbearable.

Have lots to share. Crazy pics, rousing stories, and must-see video.

But, alas, it will have to wait until at least tomorrow. Lots of "real work" to do...


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A fish story.

We're up here at Lake Gaston with my side of the family. Earlier today the brother-in-laws all went out on the boat. They called us at the house from the boat and said, "Come outside to the dock right away, we're going to meet you there soon... Bring the kids, you're not going to believe this."

So they pull up in the skiff and this is what they had caught. WITH A NET.

It was 37.5 long. Truly. We measured.

Here's the proof.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Public Service Announcement

While marshmallows don't have eggs in them, marshmallow fluff DOES.

Guess how we found out?

I have joined the dark side.

I have (finally) decided to set up a reader for all the blogs I check... I know, I know. I have fundamental objections to it because I really LIKE checking blogs individually-- seeing everyone's cool backgrounds, etc.. but it's really just a matter of the time it takes at this point...


Since it's been a while since I have added any new blogs-- if you have a blog, PLEASE include the address in a comment... I'd love to check it out.


Are there any blogs you ABSOLUTELY must read every day? If so, let me know about that too...

Thank you blog friends.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Oh, my God shine your light on us

Oh, my GodShine Your light on us
That we might live
Oh, my God
Shine Your light on usThat we might live
I've been holding onI've been holding onAll that is inside meScreams to come back homeIf you feel lost
If you feel lost
Sing along
If you feel tired
If you feel tired
Sing along
If you feel lost and tired
This is your song
I've been broken downI've been broken downI ain’t giving upLove will come back around
Shine Your light
Shine it down
Let Your rescue come for us

we long to love

Photos: Miami Herald
Lyrics:Robbie Seay Band

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Deep Thoughts by Gwenn Mangine

I have often thought that people who try to win you to Jesus by putting a gospel tract under the windshield wiper of your car while you are shopping at the mall have probably confused the term "Christian" with "litterer."

(Hope that doesn't offend anyone too greatly-- I just feel like there are much better ways to share the gospel in "non-confrontational" ways that don't REALLY irritate most to all of the recipients of said message.)

Homeschool or home school?

Last night before we went to sleep I was mentioning to Nick that it was weird to me that the word "homeschool" always gets pegged by spell check as wrong.

So Nick said, "Well are you sure that's the way it's spelled? Maybe it should actually be two words."

And so I said, "No, that's how everyone spells it."

And he said, "Who's this 'everyone' you speak of?"

And I said, "You know, like all the homeschooling websites and mom blogs of people who homeschool. They ALL have it spelled as one word."

And Nick said, "Yeah, but they were all homeschooled."

Okay, is it just me, or was that funny? (And just for the record -- we homeschool, we don't home school.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


So we watched the show Wipeout on ABC last night. (well, I sort of dozed through it-- I had already taken my beloved Trazodone.) It was SO funny. My favorite line was "the angel hair pasta arms." I loved it. But not nearly as much as Nick did. He totally wants to be on the show. And if you know Nick, you'd probably agree he is a perfect candidate as he is quite spry and agile.

So this is me groveling publicly. Does anyone know anyone who has anything to do with that show? Come on-- $50,000 could get us MUCH closer to Haiti.

I actually think he could win.

Help with rhyming

Can you think of anything that rhymes with Frances?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

More on Haiti...

Some more horrifying video/images from the land I love...
Top story on CNN when I just checked it a few minutes ago.



Public Apology

If you had kids that couldn't play in the Lifetime Fitness climbing tubes today because some kid peed in them, I know a little Haitian kid who wishes to say he's sorry.

Seriously, what kind of mom sends a marginally-potty-trained kid to the gym without a Pull-Up on? She needs to get it together.

Monday, September 8, 2008

More pics/footage of Haiti storms

Hey guys--
Tons of you have been asking me what's happening in Haiti--

I would again encourage you to visit the Pye's blog-- there are some really impactful before/after pics.

Also, I just saw this site this morning and the pics are overwhelming and horrific:

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Caption Please

This is Nia's "creation" from Paint your Pot. I know there's a snappy caption here-- help!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Soggy Mama

Woo Hoo! My very clever and witty sister Melody finally joined the ranks of the blogging.

Check it out--

Hers is going to be better than mine so just promise me you won't stop reading mine. :)

A Messy Process

The whole "one flesh" thing is a pretty crazy thing at times, isn't it?

Nick and I had one of our annual GIGANTIC fights this morning. If you've been married for any length of time, you know what I mean. When the gloves come off and you just let it all fly. It never really comes at a convenient time, and this morning was no different. It made Nick late the his HCH Board Meeting and it made me miss taking Nico to speech therapy. It feels ABSOLUTELY ridiculous and embarrassing to admit. And it's this thing you see happening as it's starting but it seems to be like stopping a runaway train. (At least for me anyway.)

I keep thinking that we'll finally get to a point where this doesn't happen anymore. But so far I am wrong. (Although I do think it's happening less frequently-- would you agree Nick?)

So you may be wondering why I am airing all my dirty laundry for the world (or at least my dozens of readers) to see. I guess it's just out of a desire to expose sin for what it is-- common to man. (See 1 Cor 10:13) It's a challenge sometimes because I think a lot of people think we have it all together. Ha! I will wholeheartedly say that there are some-- albeit very few-- areas where I do feel like we have some semblance of having it together. But in most areas, yeah-- we're just regular people, prone to the same old-fashioned selfishness that fights against any fruit in our lives that comes from God.

How grateful I am to belong to a God who has new mercies for me every morning. And to a husband who affords me this same grace.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Wait- did someone...

Mom My Ride? It's bad. Really bad.

Video footage of the flooding in Haiti

Reposting this link from


God we cry out to you!

Congratulations to our winners and just FYI...

First of all-- I'd like to congratulate Lori Gatlin on her photo evidence of why she should win the my house is so messy... contest.


Leann Pye also deserves an honorable mention and will also be receiving a prize, however, she's not receiving something Haitian, as she lives in Haiti.

Lori-- I will get your prize to you this weekend. :)

And just as an FYI-
We are going grocery shopping today because it's grocery shopping day, not because we're panicked about Hurricane Hanna. (This will be evidenced by the fact that I will not be buying milk, bread, or eggs. I bought those yesterday because it was an Old Mother Hubbard situation.)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Haiti needs your prayers...

Hey guys-

Things are REALLY bad in Haiti right now because of the hurricanes/TS. Please pray.

Here's a good source of info:
This is the personal blog of Danny and Leann Pye, Directors of the Haitian Children's Home in Jacmel (where we are moving-- they will be our next door neighbors! YAY!)

I should note that things at the HCH are okay. The city of Jacmel did NOT fare as well. Nor did many other places, like Gonaive. People are stranded on roofs and there's no one to help...

With Faye, Gustav and Hanna-- things are really, really wet. And Ike and Josephine are headed there next...

Please also be praying that Danny is able to get back to Haiti (he's in the US for a few days for a Board Meeting) and that Leann is able to keep things under control with him gone...

I'll always remember something prayed by Teresa Murphy a few years ago, "Lord save Haiti-- you're the only one who can.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Twofer Tuesday-- Homeschooling

My top 5 favorite things about homeschooling:

5. Flexibility-- Twice so far we've had Saturday school because we had to travel earlier in the week. And Nia did most of her school in the allergist office last week since it took so dang long. It's pretty great.

4. Control over curriculum-- Hear me out on this one. I am not a public school hater. I really am not. Both my husband and I went to public school. And truthfully, had we not been planning on moving, we probably would have sent Nia to public school. However, because we are not sending her to public (or private) school, we have the good fortune of looking through A LOT of different materials and selecting what is good for us based on our family values and our kids' learning styles.

3. Writing with a red pen-- This one should probably be number one. I really like it. Nia took a spelling test today and she got 7 out of 18 wrong. (Spelling is CLEARLY not her strong suit.) However, I hardly cared that she had just read ALL of these words during reading today and that I pronounced them so slowly that she had no excuse (I think I am getting off topic here). It was fine with me because I got to make a lot of X's in red pen. The power.

2. Doing projects-- I loved helping her with her Creation book, and her sun/moon/stars mobile. I loved helping her with her story the other day. We loved doing leaf rubbings and making a sundial. It was super fun to visit Uncle KC's farm and pick apples off their trees and have aunt Kristi help her make an apple pie. Homeschooling forces me to do all the things I *should* be doing with my children anyway. And I am finding that I love it.

1. Teaching my children-- This is probably so obvious, but it is AMAZING to be the teacher of my own children. I LOVE watching their faces light up when they "get it." I love hearing Nia read signs when we're driving somewhere. I love hearing Nico speak in complete sentences (he mostly works on speech during school time), and hear people comment how much he's improving. I love it. It's probably one of the only seasons of stay-at-home mom-ness (so far) that's had real, visible reward on a regular basis. It's hard to feel really satisfied mopping a floor no one will notice or putting the shoes in the closet for the 269th time in a day. But teaching Nia to read and write and do math... It's SO cool.

My top 5 LEAST favorite things about homeschooling:

5. What to do with Josiah-- It's HARD. He's all over the place. Sometimes he naps during school but not always. Sometimes he wants to "participate" but gets mad when I am working with one of the bigs. If he's not napping or participating, he's getting into every sort of thing he ought not to, strewing toys/clothes/movies/you name it all about the room, or just generally whining for attention. Any suggestions would be MORE THAN welcome. (And remember, he's an ACTIVE toddler boy, so putting him the pack n' play with some toys won't cut it.)

4. Getting frustrated with Nia for rushing and doing messy work-- It's pretty hypocritical of me to get mad at her for rushing through her work because that's like the story of my life. However, it's still frustrating.

3. Getting frustrated with Nia for lallygagging and taking 30 minutes to write one stinkin' line of P's-- For PETE'S SAKE! (Repeat sake, if you're Nia.) I know it sounds like I am contradicting #4, but it's not like she's being so meticulous that it just takes a long time. She's just getting distracted by everything else going on in the world and she just sits there and complains. (Which, incidentally, is in direct violation of our school rules.)

2. It takes nearly 3 hours a day-- And I was already not getting all my housework, laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, bathing, etc. done. It certainly doesn't help with that. In fact, it sort of makes me crazy some days.

1. Getting confused by kindergarten math-- It's not that I cannot DO kindergarten math, it's just that I can't always figure out HOW to explain the concepts the way our math book wants me to. I have always said that Nick was going to have to be an active part of homeschooling when it came to higher math. I just don't think he realized that meant first grade.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Great New York State Fair Review

So my sister-in-law, Kristi, proclaimed the NY State Fair, "the BEST state fair in the world." And as we were going back and forth trying to decide if we should go Nick observed, "This may be the ONLY time in your life you get to go."

Well after that-- HOW COULD WE NOT GO?

We had a great time, although I found it very similar to the NC State Fair.

Here's a list of similarities.
They both have:
1. The same rides with the same sketchy-looking ride operators.
2. The same games with the same prizes, including the ever-obnoxious "Fool the Guesser" stands every ten feet.
3. The same assortment of animals-- they all stink.
4. The same likelihood to bring out young women dressed in a "lady of the evening"-type style.
5. The same items for sale-- hot tubs, sheds, leather crafts, stupid t-shirts, airbrushed junk, wooden carved signs that pronounce the surname of the family that purchases it apparently to hang on the front of their house... etc.
6. The same "side-show" booths-- Tiny Tanya (the world's smallest lady), The World's Smallest Horse ("Too Small For Even A BABY to ride"), The World's Longest Alligator, etc...
7. The same caricature booths and people lining up by the dozens to be drawn.
8. The same "As seen on TV" miracle products with their headset-microphone wearing peddlers-- ie. chamois, pressure coookers, miracle mops, etc...
9. The same heart-attack assuring deep fried foods-- Twinkies, Oreos, Snickers, et al... fried dough of all shapes and sizes.
10. Giant sculptures-- sand and butter.

I could honestly go on for a good long time talking about similarities.

Here's a shorter list of things I like better at each place:

1. Pierogies with onions and butter.
2. Salt potatoes.
3. Spiedie sandwiches.

NC- (the only one that really matters to me)

So-- no winner. New contest.

And entries have died down.

Just for the record, the answer was:
A Target with a McDonalds inside.

Here's the new contest. This one WILL have a winner.

The topic is:

My house is SO messy that...

For example: My house is so messy that I am considering calling the Department of Health to turn myself in.

Contest ends Wednesday (Aug 3) at midnight.

Comment away...