The Googegs - Strangers in the World

The Googegs - Strangers in the World

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Hallalujah March

The last week or so has been particularly difficult at our house. School is a big struggle and kid stuff -- obedience and temper tantrums. I think that having no sun shining for days on end has affected the mood inside the house.

As I was trying to wash up the dinner dishes, the dog started inexplicably barking out of control, kids were loud and unruly, thoughts of Nurse Cratchett flowed through my head : "Medication time, Medication time." It felt like a looney bin around here.

Then, I realized we just needed something to be happy about. So, who did something....  ah yes.... Ricky has struggled with focus and schoolwork all week, but finished on time and with great work today. It was time for the Hallelujah march!

Selecting the proper equipment.

Braydon graciously played a march for us.

Off we go!

Nothing much had changed from my sink time slump. It was still loud, probably louder. The dog still would not stop barking. But we had changed. We were laughing, working together and celebrating. In the hardness of life - child training, educating, and sometimes just standing, I can get pulled down into the struggle of it all. Once in awhile, I just need to pick my head up, find something, anything, to praise and bang a lid - Hallelujah!

Keep up the good work buddy!

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Happy Birthday Braydon!

Awww Mom!

This is what 13 looks like first thing in the morning.

Too old for birthday spankings -- but we did end up in a wrestle time with Dad.

The requested Cranberry Cheesecake.

Little more smoke from the candles this year!

Braydon already received his gift from us when we took him to the 3D Imax movie and simulator ride in DC, but he received some wonderful cards.

And... a check from Grandma!

It was a great birthday.

The drama playing out in the background, was all about blueberry pie. My brother gave me a DVD set and cookbook from America's Test Kitchen. One of the recipes was the Best Blueberry Pie. Jerome has been craving this pie. Wouldn't you know Walmart had blueberries on sale? Then I hemmed and hawed about buying the Vodka required for the crust. Wouldn't you know Walmart sells that too? This non-drinker actually bought a 5th for the sake of the pie. It took me until midnight to get it done.....

Worth it.

And this is just a good picture.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 6 - the DC Adventure

Travelin' home.

The last metro ride.

Adela was very proficient at the metro guide and could even plan our route.

Fourteen hours on the Amtrak, two hours drive from Toledo and we are home... to an Ohio winter.

Day 5 - the DC Adventure

Our last day in the big city.  Braydon's birthday (13!) is on the 17th. We always take our kids for a family-fun trip for their birthday. He opted to do some things while we were in DC.

Smithsonian Air and Space museum was showing a 3-D Imax on Space. Nothing looks cooler than those glasses. The kids said it was so neat and things were popping out at them.  I have to confess, for me it didn't look like more than a blurry movie. Maybe my eyes are catching up with my age. Afterwards, Braydon and I hit a simulator and that was a lot of fun. Happy Early Birthday!

Everyone was lagging a bit this day, so we just tried to hit some highlights at the Smithsonian before heading home.

Couldn't miss Dorothy's shoes. We also walked through an awesome Lincoln exhibit.

On the way back to the metro we had a great view of the Washington Monument.

Back to the condo we went for a little rest. We when we were in the unit we spent a lot of time using the Bop-It.

Even Mom gets into that one!

In the evening we had the longed-for pleasure of meeting up with the Richardson Family. They also adopted from Liberia and I considered Sue the ambassador to my kids. When she and Scott traveled to pick up their children they were the first to meet and send us pictures of our kids Mary and Wokelle. What a pleasure to meet the Mom that met my kids first. What a fun family!

Hey, little girl can I share your DS?

Wokelle and Annie are close in age and as cute as can be. The DS's were great ice breakers.

Wokelle and Eman, meeting up again a world away. Two improverished little Africans with a new outlook on life.

Gettin' to know you...

The girls Mary, Adela and Abegail having a good gabfest.

These two girls were the best of friends by the end of the evening.

Sue and Scott -- what great people. Scott had to work late, but was brave enough to meet up with us. From the Rukus in our room he didn't even have to ask for a room number!

The moms talked a lot of shop in the background. I love Sue so much! I wish we lived close enough to have coffee once a week, but I guess e-mail and bloggin' will have to do. It was really a great evening and a highlight of the trip for me. She also writes a great blog on her adventures in life. Before she left we promised to link to each other on our blogs (OK -- my geek moment!) You can read hers right here.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 4 - the DC Adventure

Arlington National Cemetery.

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

JFK' Gravesite

Here rests in honored glory an American Soldier known but to God.

Remember the Maine.

We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.

A good day.

Day 3 - the DC Adventure

First of all, NO CAMERAS ALLOWED. We have no pictures. To book tours at The White House you need to go through your state representatives office. At first, we were told no tours were available and then our contact called us back and we were in at 9:00am. The White House basically allows nothing. No purses, no backpacks, no cameras.... And they don't provide storage for you. So we had some wallets and a cell phone in our pockets and that was it.

The tour was at 9:00am which means the tribe had to hit the front door at 7:30am. We made it in plenty of time. The White House Tour was something everyone said they enjoyed.

We had a couple of hours before our scheduled Capitol tour began. We started walking. We got a bit turned around, but hey, we spotted a Starbucks! You have to understand how important that is to us. Jerome and I are big coffee drinkers and there is NO NO NO Starbucks anywhere close to our home. It is a "vacation treat only". We went in, and since it is vacation we decided the kids should have a "vacation treat only". We bought them each a donut. When I placed my order the ladies eyes kind of bugged out. "SIX!"

"Yes, Ma'am. Six."

I do need to lose some weight, but six probably looked like a lot for even me. I am pretty sure they don't get that order too often. I did explain that I was buying them for my children.

OOOH. The kids were so excited! We walked and enjoyed our fortunate find.

We were still a bit lost, but finally arrived at the Capitol. The staff person from our representatives office met us there and Wow! it was an awesome tour. First of all, since we contacted our rep., we had tour group of the tribe only. During our conversations we found out that she is a Christian and she explained some religious significance of things in the capitol. We also found out that she had taught school 12 years in Guam and knew some folks from Yap Island (Jerome's home).  Again the capitol tour was very memorable.

We arrived home in time to have a pizza party with our good friends.

It was a great day, but my dogs were barkin' when I went to bed.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 2 - the DC Adventure

Today was a very successful day. We got out of the condo late, but still got around to quite a few things. Riding the metro seems to be great entertainment for our group!

Waiting in the morning.  It has been quite an education. We have learned how to purchase fare cards, use them and get where we are going.

We stopped first at the Smithsonian Castle. On our way we got a good view of the Capitol Building.

The castle was very pretty and a good introduction to the Smithsonian.

We didn't have a lot of time because we had a scheduled tour in the afternoon.  We started off looking at African Art. We left that museum a little sad. The art was beautiful in form and technique, and I noticed that a lot was dated from the 1800's. A time when Christians considered Africa the dark continent. There was a lot of spirit worship and many God's mentioned. It was sad to man without God depicted in their art. We really enjoyed the American History museum and may return again. The kids now understand what it took to do laundry in the 1700's -- they really like our washing machine!

Soon we were off to the Pentagon. This tour was definitely the highlight of today. The tour guides are very well versed and they walk backwards the entire tour while talking to you. It is a requirement of their job and our guide told us he had to learn it within 2 weeks. Amazing! There is a memorial to September 11th and that was quite moving also. We did see a few briefings:

I always like to notice the little things that I would never do at home when I am on vacation. For instance, when we visited Yap Island 3 years ago, I loved hanging my laundry with a view of the Ocean, or chasing the baby pig out of the house while I cooked dinner. My little moment today was walking to Starbucks. I ran out by myself and walked the red bricked sidewalks of Old Town Alexandria -- just around the corner. There I was with folks in their wool pea coats and Ann Taylor Shopping bags grabbing my Starbucks. At home it is me and some folks with Cleveland Browns coats on carrying Walmart bags running into the McDonalds. I wouldn't trade my Podunk life for anything, but it was my little moment.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 1 - the DC Adventure

We are off on our next big adventure. We have taken a week's vacation to Amtrak to Washington DC and then metro our tribe over the city to sight see.

Day 1 we have barely arrived and we have already had adventures a plenty. We had to drive 2 hours to Toledo to catch the Amtrak train; Wokelle fell fast asleep and when we arrived at the station we discovered that he had wet. I don't mean "Oops, I think I wet." I mean, "Wow! my socks are dripping!"

Thankfully we had arrived early and, of couse, had not checked the baggage. I pulled out another set of clothes and cleaned him up as best I could. Knowing that most janitors place unused trash bags under the trash bag, I looked and YEAH I snagged a plastic bag for the wetties.

We checked our bags, took our dry children and at 12:00am we left Toledo. The train was awesome; plenty of leg room for stretching out, comfortable seats, laid back atmosphere. However, there are no seat assignments until the moment you walk up. Putting the 8 of us together proved to be a problem. That was Okay, I sat close to some children and Jerome sat close to others. The conductor was determined to put the family together and kept checking in with Jerome (waking him up!) and in Pittsburgh we were all together.

We arrived at Union Station Washington DC at 1:00pm in the afternoon. Mary had befriended a lady on the train who was heading in for her twin grandchildren's birth. On arrival, she discovered that the daughter had been rushed to the hospital for an immediate delivery and she was unsure of how to get where she needed to be. We stayed close until she assured us that someone was coming for her.

Then we were off to find our own way to Alexandria, Virginia and our condo. My friend, who lives in the area, offered to pick Wokelle, the luggage and I up. The rest of the tribe was going to Metro to the condo. Transporting a tribe of 8 takes more car than most people have readily available. Let me tell you this is one faithful friend. She flew in last night and still drove to downtown DC to pick me up at Union Station. She helped me lug the bags up and then took me to the local Safeway, so we could have some eats in the unit.  All this from someone I last saw 10 years and 4 kids ago. True blue friend for sure -- we hope to spend some more time with her whole family this week.

Apparently, the metro was really fun. Being in country mindset with little sleep left them a little sluggish though and Braydon almost missed the train. Jerome banged mightly on the door and they opened it enough to shove him on. We now have "metro riding rules" so that if we get separated we can be as safe as possible.

Of course, being a mom part of my "job" follows me even on vacation. So far, I have unpacked, cooked a dinner and washed a load of clothes!

Tomorrow the adventure continues with a trip to the Smithosonian Castle and a scheduled tour of the Pentagon. Hopefully, we will have pictures!