The Googegs - Strangers in the World

The Googegs - Strangers in the World

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mary's 11/14

This week Mary celebrated her birthday. The reason we call it her 11/14 has to do with international adoption and that her legal paperwork did not accurately reflect her age. To see my original post on the age questions click here.  She is 11 on her legal paperwork and biologically 14.

Birthdays have become a bit quieter around here. She picked out the cake she wanted (caramel cheesecake) and helped me bake it. She wanted to be the one to light her candles.

The children usually make cards for each other, or have found some other unique or creative way to wish each other the best. If they have a little money they will often buy small things way in advance and save them. If not they make things, or have even been know to put on "shows".  As parents we buy a nice card (usually with music) and promise a family fun event, which the kids take weeks or even months trying to figure out what they want to do.

Mary enjoying all the cards and things her brother and sisters prepared for her.

Grandma always sends the kids a nice gift. Mary has been very good at learning crochet and working with her hands. This year she was asking for tatting supplies. She just really wanted to learn how to tat.

Boy did Grandma come through!

Everyone was really surprised by the box of materials that came from my mom's mother's things. The idea that Mary would get her great-grandmother's tatting shuttle made a big impression on her. I kept telling her that tatting skipped two generations!

Grandma also sent along some great new teaching resources.

Mary could hardly wait to get started.

Already tatting!

For our family-fun trip we took off for the local bowling alley.

A great night and a happy birthday!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The New Appliance

Let me just say upfront: Jerome and I love coffee. We really love coffee and we drink more than we probably should.

Consequently, every so often, we need a new coffee pot. We like coffee, but we really aren't willing to spend big money on a really fancy coffee maker. So, we sometimes are not satisfied with how our coffee comes out, but it's Okay.

The time came, and our current pot was definitely on the way out. I stopped in at our local thrift store for a few things and lo and behold I saw it:


Ah! Now there's something I hadn't thought of before. Why not?  I plunked down my $4 and headed home. I washed it up and then I turned it on with only water in it. I just wanted to see if it worked and I didn't want to waste actual coffee. It worked! The girls and I drank tea that evening.

I had to Google Percolators to figure out how to actually use one, but what do you know, it is so simple. Add water to the line (20 Cups!). Put the metal bar and ready made plastic (forever!) filter in . Fill the filter to the line (20 cups!) and plug it in. No fancy timers and clocks. No paper filters. Just water and coffee.

Did I tell you it makes 20 cups! I only have to set this thing up once the night before and we are good all day. The coffee tastes great and doesn't end up with that burnt flavor.

Riane really hates the '70's green motif, but I say embrace the retro-ness of it.

I just don't think I will ever get a drip maker again.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Takin' a Break

The Tribe is taking a break. We finished our required days of school (and a little bit extra). We finished taking our standardized tests (we prefer the CAT), and now we are taking a little time off from our homeschooling.

Mother's Day was the beginning of our slow down. What an awesome time we had. The kids got up early did the ironing for me, and prepared breakfast. They also gave me my favorite perfume.

We had our first garage sale as a family. We have been studying thriftiness and the integrity and business practices of John Wanamaker. So, we tried to implement some strategies. We clearly marked all of our prices with computer printed signs. Service:  We offered free coffee (clearly advertised on all our signs). We made sure everyone was greeted. We are working as a one-accord family, so any projects are worked on by all and any profit is shared by all. I was so hoping we would make enough money to split for the kids to have a little fun money. When the economy shlump hit our family the very first things to go were kids allowances. At the end of our one day sale, we had made some money, but only enough to make a couple dollars each. I was praying hard and at the last minute a family pulled in and they were in a buying mood. Before they left they had bought our largest ticket item (a TV) and several other things.  Wow! God even answers our prayers for little delights. That gave us enough to get about $10 each. Doesn't sound like much, but we were pleased with our day. We were also pleased with the clean closets and the fact that we got rid of so many things that we don't use anymore.

The weather has been a bit interesting during this time too. We had some really hot days. Now, I wouldn't call them dog days yet, but I don't think Dexter knows that.

He was floppin'! As I am writing this, it has already turned cold again  -- so the huge sighs and big flops all over the house have subsided for awhile.

Just this weekend we had some friends over. What an awesome time to visit and have fun!  The girls got together to take some funny pictures. The process started out like this:

And ended up in cute shots like these:

How fun and creative is that?

Mary has also been a busy girl. She can really work with her hands so well. She has produced so much work and it is all beautiful. She put down her crochet for a bit and tried her hand at embroidery. This was her first pillowcase:

Awesome job!

Oh, and by the way we are STILL working on that family picture:

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Mama

I am usually so busy being a Mama that I don't take time to honor my Mama. This is a shame really. I talk to my Mama a lot. At least once a week, and at least an hour -- sometimes two. It's one of those conversations that ends up being mighty one sided. I tell all the exploits of life with the tribe, not to mention the frustrations, the delicate emotional balances and the angst of whether or not I am doing anything right. We laugh and laugh and then I hang up. My kids always ask what we talk about and I say "Not much." Then they will say "How's Grandma?" To my shame my response is usually, "Uh ... good... I think.. I told most of our stories."  Needless to say my Mama is a good listener. So here's the story of My Mama.

She grew up on a cattle ranch in Colorado and can tell real stories about how she walked a mile to school in the snow. And how the Dr. that delivered her was paid in chickens. She grew up with three older brothers and spent a lot of time reading the Farmer's Almanac.

She wasn't much of a shrinking violet though. In her 20's she entered the foreign service and became a clerk-typist at the American Embassy in Israel. (Oh, how I love to tell this story -- it sounds like movie!!) While there she met a handsome (of course) marine guard. His ploy to get my mom was to call her all the time asking her how to spell words for his reports. It sounds goofy, but nobody can beat my mom at a game of scrabble without thinking real hard - she can SPELL. And there were no spell checker, word processing programs in those days. Anyway, their foreign romance grew and my father left for the US with a promise to marry my mom when she got back to the States and he did not leave her with a ring as a promise -- he simply promised to mail her one later. I think she took a lot of ribbing for that -- who would fall for that from some marine?

Ah, but he was true to his word and mailed her a ring. When she returned they were married the day after Christmas when my Dad had leave. They had two boys and then me (the only girl!). We spent our young lives moving every 2 1/2 years as my Dad's assignments changed. He even spent the better part of my first year in Vietnam.

Growing up with my Mom was a fun time. She may not have been crafty or up for many parties, but she let us do a lot of stuff. We were allowed to keep various critters. We had toads in the window wells that we feed with hamburger meat, dogs, cats, guinea pigs and even a pet duck. We spent hours playing games like monopoly and scrabble (of course). She taught me my first cross stitch and I can remember making a lot of tree ornaments.

She also just hung on through a lot of years of hard kid raisin'. I usually had a loud opinion and went through one terrible rebellious time in my teens. She just kept hanging on. She pushed me to join the swim team, hoping the physical exercise, change of friends and structured time would help me out (it did). After all that, she still allowed me to take a one year foreign exchange trip to Argentina when I was 17. It was one of the most pivotal times of my life.

When I came back and got ready for college she must have thought I flipped my lid again. I kept changing majors and living arrangements from dorm to apartment and then came home complaining about how I was "done with it all." She helped me dump everything and move to Denver to go to a 6 month secretarial school. I have a better perspective now about how she must have received that phone call announcing my intentions to get married. WHAT? I hardly sounded ready to settle down on a mature life.

Once again she came to Denver and spent one whirlwind weekend planning my entire wedding. That's right -- one weekend. No 6 months of planning for us we did in it in ONE WEEKEND. We had so much fun doing it, I would do it again!  To be honest she was a bit circumspect about this marriage, but she didn't say much after we got married. She still listened to my hour long conversations (nothing's changed). She gave counsel or caution, but never butted in or had emotional tirades.

I sat with her at my Dad's bedside after his open heart surgery, and a few years later as he lay dying from cancer. What I remember about those days at Dad's bed were how much we laughed. We talked and talked and drank way too much coffee. As we went through the planning for and the actual funeral I can remember telling her I was worried about her and she said, "Oh, honey I have already done my grieving for the last six months." I have never forgotten it. She did not deny that he was dying -- she didn't neglect to face it and grieve it, but she grieved it with my father.

She has rescued me more times than I can count, like coming to help with the tribe when I had a hysterectomy and started major emotional therapy with one of my kids in the same week. Can you imagine stepping into that landmine. Come she did -- and cooked dinner every night.

She still comes to spend a lot of time at our house. Either for holidays or vacations. The whole tribe wishes we could get her to give up her time in the land of twinkle and shine and move to Ohio. We haven't sold her on this idea yet, but we will keep trying.

So that's my Mama. Happy Mother's Day Mom -- I'll call you!