Tuesday, January 30, 2007

my chance for a medal

OK, I'll never be close to competing in the Olympics but I found a way to earn a bronze, silver or even a gold medal. My boss sent out an e-mail inviting all of us VA grunts to sign up for the Active Lifestyle program or the Presidential Champions program. It's very simple: you earn points every time you exercise and when you've earned enough points, you get an award. There is a website that lets you track your activity and points online, and you can compare your progress within your group or with other groups. My family is also eligible to join, so if you've always wanted a medal too, let me know.

I've been working out somewhat regularly anyway, so I figured I'd sign up. Maybe it will give me some added incentive to work out on those days I don't really feel like it. They let you count any activity, even housework or chasing your kids or walking to your car, as long as it takes at least 5 minutes. I might as well get credit for all those trips up and down the stairs with a kid on each arm, right?
I need 20,000 points for a bronze medal. We'll see how long it takes me.

Monday, January 29, 2007

quote of the day - Sam Harris

"Imagine a world in which generations of human beings come to believe that certain films were made by God or that specific software was coded by him. Imagine a future in which millions of our descendants murder each other over rival interpretations of Star Wars or Windows 98. Could anything -- anything -- be more ridiculous? And yet, this would be no more ridiculous than the world we are living in."
-Sam Harris, author (1967- )

Never thought of it this way! He has a point.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Pritt-tee Alex

It was the end of the day, and Alex's hair was half pulled out of her ponytails and hung in strands over her face. Her shirt front was dotted with rice from dinner, and a chocolate-ice-cream beard covered her chin. But when she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror, what was her reaction?

"Hey...I'm PRITT-TEE!!!"

I hope she always believes it - no matter how she looks!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Day Care?

Well, I didn't think we would ever have to put our kids in day care, but with Cameo having a baby and Buzz taking boards and starting his third year of med school, we will need somewhere for them to go on Tuesdays for a few months. In addition, I still work full time for 4 weeks per year in the hospital, so it will be nice to have a plan for that.

Luckily, my friend Tammy knows a good place that actually does part time day care. If you've ever tried to find it, you know part-time day care providers are rare as hen's teeth. Tammy's kids have been going there for 2 years and seem perfectly happy and well cared for. VERY reassuring to me. But still...

Ever since Alex arrived in May 2005, we've always had the kids at home or with John and Cameo. It's hard to imagine turning them over to someone I don't know. It's hard knowing I might miss some of their cute antics or developmental milestones. It's hard anticipating the separation anxiety I fear they will have. Sam hasn't made it through even one hour alone in the church nursery...how will he handle an entire day?

I tried to think of all the questions I should ask the day care provider when I visited, but I probably missed some. They are state licensed (the current license was displayed on the wall), all their teachers are certified in emergency procedures and basic life support, they have all had background checks, etc. The place isn't fancy but looks safe, reasonably clean and has a large yard fully enclosed with a lockable gate. The ratio of teachers to kids sounds high to me - up to 8 kids per teacher, 2 of which can be infants (under 2) - but apparently this meets state requirements. At this time, I don't know of any other options. At least it's only for one day a week, or two at the most. And I'm hoping there will be benefits as well. They do artsy-crafty activities that I don't do at home, and the social interaction will be good for them. I hope.

Our first day is planned for Friday, March 2. It should be interesting!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

just coincidence?

Every so often, in the seemingly random sequence of events that make up life, there come along moments that make you go "Hmmm."

Bryan and I have always made a habit of giving regularly to various causes. It started out as "'tithing" but since then has grown to include trying to respond to various needs that come up around us, and balancing that with trying to help those who seem to need it most.

In the last couple of years we hit new personal records for spending big bucks. There was a new mortgage, a new roof, two international adoptions and a new car to replace my beloved pickup truck (which could not accommodate car seats.) At the same time, our income dropped because I went part time and took 2 unpaid maternity leaves of 3 months each. We incurred some debt, but it should be manageable.

The amount we gave away dropped accordingly. We let it slide for a while. A chunk of the adoption fees went to orphans in Korea (the ones who aren't being adopted), so we rationalized that we had contributed what we could and would re-evaluate in 2007.

Well, this Sunday rolled around and the sermon was on giving, and Bryan and I decided we want to go back to our prior giving percentage. At the same time, I was looking into the costs of child care for a few months while Cameo goes on maternity leave. Turns out our current child care trading system saves us almost $500 per month. Anyway, with the expectation of new child care costs plus loan repayments, etc., I was a little worried about returning to our previous "giving" levels. I figured we would get behind for a few months, but catch up later.

So today I found out I got a raise! It's enough to cover the child care. :-) Just a coincidence?

I don't know, but I recently discovered another worthy cause for my new extra cash. Ten dollars will buy an antimalarial bed net and quite possibly save a life. Malaria isn't in the news a lot, but it's a major killer. Check out www.malarianomore.org or www.nothingbutnets.net.

Monday, January 15, 2007

happy 9-monthday Sam

I am so in love with my little buddy. Here's what he's been up to lately:

- crawling and cruising and falling and bruising!

- climbing - up the pantry shelves, into cupboards, onto Alex's little table and chairs, onto the dishwasher, into the bathtub...
- working on the pincer grasp - doesn't have it yet, but is starting to get that fascination with small objects. We found a piece of tinsel in his diaper yesterday - ack!
- starting to babble

- messing with Alex and Ava and their toys

- LOVING the dishwasher. If we open it, from across the room he will squeal with delight and crawl as fast as he can to get to this amazing thing. Same thing when we open the refrigerator door. I almost feel bad closing the door after he works so hard to get there.

- breaking stuff (already. Yes. He's a boy.). So far he has broken a lightbulb in a lamp he tipped over, and has broken his nightlight shade off. He also likes to rip paper. He got to a magazine and ripped out a couple pages and was laughing delightedly at the way they crinkled and ripped.

Today we will also have our third and final post-placement visit with the social worker, as required by Korea and Utah adoption law. When Sam has been with us for 6 months (Feb. 24), we can finalize in court. I'm looking forward to that. Even though it is technically a formality, legally Sam is still in custody of the agency and if anything were to happen - I don't know. I don't like to go there. Just can't wait to have this business finished.

Happy 9 month birthday Sam!

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

global warming and Al Gore

A couple of weeks ago B. and I watched Al Gore's DVD, "An Inconvenient Truth." He makes global warming look pretty scary. As it probably should.

A couple of things bugged me about his presentation. The axes of his graphs were often unlabeled, or the labels were impossible to read on the screen, making it difficult to assess the true scale of the measurements. A line going up, up, up looks very dramatic...but how much are these graphs "dressed up" to enhance the drama? I took statistics courses in college...I know how possible it is to make mountains out of molehills, or vice versa, depending on your motives.

Nonetheless, I doubt this global warming stuff is all just liberal tree-hugger hype. There appears to be good reliable scientific consensus. It may be an emotional issue, but that doesn't mean it's not happening.

One quote I particularly liked: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it" (Upton Sinclair).

So what can we do about it? Gore suggests that we all go to www.climatecrisis.net and learn about ways to stop global warming. I looked at the site. There are lots of tips to reduce your personal carbon emissions - like eat less meat, insulate your hot water heater, and bike to work if you can. I know this is serious, and it's true we should probably do more things like this, but I inwardly had to laugh a little...it seems like spitting in the wind when we still have huge coal burning plants and enormous corporations emitting enormous amounts of these noxious greenhouse gases. Personally, I feel we would get more bang from our buck by bugging all our senators and representatives. So that is what I'm doing, for now. After that movie it seemed hard to do NOTHING.

Monday, January 8, 2007

New kid on the Blog

Hello everyone! 2007 seems like a good time to join the electronic age. First a page on Myspace (www.myspace.com/sarahs_opus) and now a new blog.

Why Hunca Munca and Mouse's House? My family nicknamed me Mouse when I was little. It seems I was very quiet and sat in corners with big eyes watching all the ruckus. That, plus the fact that every URL name with "Sarah" in it is already taken.

About Hunca Munca - I've been reading Beatrix Potter's A Tale of Two Bad Mice to my daughter. What a great story! It ranks right up there with my other favorite of Potter's, The Tale of the Fierce Bad Rabbit. Tales about bad little furry animals seem to stick with me.