Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Eulogy for Natalie N. Loving

(Guest posted by Thomas Loving)

I don’t want to tell you the things about my mom that is usually expected at a time like this. I don’t want to tell you her full name was Natalie Noelani Loving or that her maiden name was Higashida. I don’t want to tell you that she was a Social Worker for the state or how she excelled at her work. I don’t want to tell you where or when she was born or what college she attended or what political party she belonged to.

All these things are irrelevant. These things are what my mom was…But I don’t want to tell you what my mom was but rather who she is…and to convey to you who my mom is I can’t tell you what she did for a living or what her education was or what side of the ballot she made her checks and crosses—to give you a glimpse of who she is I need to share some of my memories of her with you.

It isn’t the easiest thing for a boy to grow up with the last name of Loving. There always seems to be kids around who will take that name and make joke after joke at your expense, causing all kinds of embarrassment. The last name of Loving, for a boy, is like wearing a bulls-eye on your back for bullies. So I got into more than my fair share of fights. Which is fine until mom saw some kids picking on me not far from our house one day. She came running out of the house screaming at these kids to leave me alone—this 5’ 2” Hawaiian-Japanese tank was barreling down at these kids and they took off. Of course, what’s worse than a kid named Loving then a kid whose mom fights for you? Nothing! But that’s who she is, my protector and fierce guardian.
She thrives on the Word. She is constantly listening or watching messages by a variety of pastors to grasp insight into the Bible. And she’s a Berean, she scours the Bible for the answers rather than just taking a speaker for the truth.

She quotes scripture to me.

When I was a teenager and my mom was in her mid 40’s, I was trying to figure out the whole relationship thing. I spoke with my mom a lot about how I’m supposed to act and how the whole dating thing worked. And she always seemed to have a rather old-fashioned approach to everything. Guy asks girl out. Guy pays for everything, yada yada yada. And, did I mention, I was an ornery teen, and I liked to prank my mom or embarrass her. So of course one day I start asking her all these sex questions thinking, I’ll make her blush and have a laugh.

“Oh, you know it’s private right?” She said.
“Yeah, but ma, I gotta know something about it sooner or later, don’t I?” I said trying to push her toward embarrassment.
Without skipping a beat she starts to say, “Well your dad and I like—“
“Stop stop stop! I don’t need to know.”

So, laughing she turns my plot around on me and begins to tell me more than I ever wanted to know about the birds and the bees complete with mom and dad illustrations—and I am red as a beet when she’s finished. But that’s who she is, sly as a fox, eager to laugh, always wiling to be frank with her children—not to mention still on fire, passionate about her husband after years and years of marriage.

She sings a lot. In the shower, in the car, browsing in a grocery store, she hums a tune or sings snatches of song to fill the silence. She doesn’t mind the quiet but she prefers music.

I hear her screaming my name from the living room. When I dash into the room I find her standing on chair stamping her feet and pointing frantically at a wall. There on the wall is the largest cane spider I have ever seen in my life. So, big son that I am, I grab a broom from the kitchen and quickly come back to get rid of the menace. As I swing at this thing it leaps from the wall, lands on my broomstick and runs straight down at my face. The only thing going through my head is alien face hugger! Now I’m up on a chair next my mom yelling, stamping my feet and pointing at this crazed spider running around on the floor. Eventually I get down, and, screaming like a little girl, I shush the thing out the door while my mom stands on her chair laughing and yelping every time it lunges at me.

That’s who she is too, vulnerable. She is the first woman I’ve ever felt an overwhelming urge to protect, to shield.

She loves to talk. A lot. She calls me and tells me everything, large and small, that’s going on. Then she calls my wife and repeats and expounds on everything. She loves to talk.

Her favorite phrases included, but are not limited to:
The Lord will provide.
This too shall pass.
Oh, praise the Lord!

Most of the things I’ve shared with you about my mom are silly and possibly a little inappropriate for a celebration of the dead. But I share them with you, and I do it with a smile, because I am confident in Christ and I am confident there’s life after this and I am confident in my mother’s faith in Christ and her renewed life. So, this bit of ash and crushed bone sitting before me is just a token of what she was. Who she is:
loving protector and raging defender,
lover of life and laughter,
gentle spirit of prayer,
soothing voice in the night,
love of my father’s life,
strong supporter,
rock of faith,
sweet song at mid-day,

All these things and more, so much more, are who she is now and forever. I don’t celebrate the dead today—I celebrate the living.

Sad little playhouse

Ivy destroyed it in just under a week. She tore off the doors 1st. Then apparently leaned into the window and tore it. Then came the other window. And in less than an hour she had torn the whole thing apart.

So so so sad. Because I think I loved the whole playhouse more than they did. I bought a vinyl table cloth and replaced the facade with it, but I don't know how long that is going to last. Not to mention, there was something a little more fun and whimsical about the first one.

Here's the new one...

It's entirely possible this gift was a bad idea.

I got caught up in the Christmas buying frenzy and thought it would be a good idea to pick up a cap gun (without the caps), badge, and cowboy hat for Kai & Ivy's dress-up closet. It seemed like all they had were princess dresses and high heels so I thought maybe I should get them something that wasn't quite so pink and poofy.

Kai loves the gun though when she opened the badge she looked at it, threw it across the room and exclaimed, "I hate that!" Still, the gun and hat were a hit. She has been carrying the gun all over the house with her. And the other day, on the phone I found myself saying something I never would have thought possible. In the middle of talking without even realizing what I was saying, I called out, "Arema Kai Loving put that gun down now! I don't want to have to ask you again."

Luckily, it was just Thomas I was talking to, but since I said it without even realizing how it sounded I am starting to wonder now if letting my 3-year-old play with a toy gun might be a bad idea...

Saturday, December 29, 2007

So her father's daughter...

Kai has been wanting to discuss Heaven in great detail. She asks lots of questions and is never satisfied that she has learned enough. I think she wants to understand whether or not this place we tell her Tutu went is real.

After discussing how beautiful it is and how wonderful it is she looked me dead in the eye the other night and asked me sweetly, "Mom, in Heaven do they have video games?"

Ah, the important questions in life. I couldn't find the answer in the Bible. Anyone have a clue?

I've decided I'm going to keep Thomas.

Okay, so it never was in question really, but I have to say that since he's been gone I've realized how much of a two-person job this is. My hat is off in a big huge way to every single mother out there who raises functional kids and still manages to stay even relatively sane. Heck, if they raise even semi-functional kids and can still pull themselves together enough to go out in public with clean hair and wearing something other than sweatpants I think they deserve a medal.

I haven't even been able to pull that off this week.

The girls miss their dad so much and I do too. I always have these fantasies of a week where I get the house to myself after the girls go to bed and I don't have to watch sci-fi movies, put up with War Craft in the living room, or wear my trusty ear plugs to protect my ear drums from the deafening roar of a certain wonderful husband's snoring. The reality is, I would do anything to be typing this with Thomas playing video games beside me. I wouldn't even mind if he was snoring in the next room. I miss him and all the ridiculous things that drive me crazy. I know what you're thinking. He's only been gone since Wednesday. Give me a break, right? We've been married 6 years so having him away for a few days shouldn't be a big deal. Ordinarily it wouldn't bother me to be away from him for just a couple of days, but I guess knowing that I'm not going to see him until next Saturday and that we're going to have to spend New Year's apart just makes the whole thing seem a bit more sad. Off course, it could also be that I've been more than just a little maudlin lately. And it's late. Or early depending on how you look at it.

Still, the truth is, I love my husband. I miss him. So, Tal, come home soon. I love you...

I so totally heart Jack Johnson...

His music that is. Everyone knows the only man I really totally heart is my favorite Hawaiian in the world, Thomas. Jack Johnson wishes he was as awesome as Thomas. He even said in an interview he didn't think he should be allowed to share the birthplace of such a dreamy guy as Tal. I mean, who can blame him really?

Come to think of it, I probably love Jack Johnson's music as much as I do because it reminds me of Tal every time I listen to it...

Okay, back to the music of Jack Johnson. Did you know his new album drops Feb. 5th? Do your ears a big favor and buy it. If you pre-order on iTunes you get a bonus track. Why am I doing a commercial for Jack Johnson, you ask? I've loved his music since Brushfire Fairytales and he's pretty much my number one most favoritest (I know it's not a word) music artist in the world. And, it's 3:30 am and it seems even more exciting at this hour.

Anyways, check him out. You'll love it. I promise.

On a side note, after posting this blog I was reading Jack Johnson's Bio and saw that he just had a son. He named him Moe which I thought was a pretty cool and unusual name. I thought I'd store it away in my brain as a three letter boy's name for the future. Until I realized what that name would sound like. Moe Loving. Mo' Lovin'. Yeah, that had me giggling. It is after all 4:30 am now...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Can I brag a little?

Thomas and I wanted to give the girls a playhouse for Christmas and so we hatched this plan to build one in their playroom. It was a simple thing to do (even though it did take us until about 3:30 am on Christmas morning). But, I am so happy with how it turned out. It's a bit crooked because someone (me) either measured wrong or Lowes has started cutting their 4' x 8' boards a little off. I'm betting on the former rather than the latter. Anyways, I think the crooked look is cool and makes it even more whimsical looking. The rest of it is basically just a drop cloth we painted and cut to have windows and a door. Inside is the kitchen with a little table and chairs and a reading/resting nook for hanging out. For $25 the girls got this cute little house and we can change the facade to fit different seasons, themes or events for only $10. We're pretty proud of it so I just thought I'd throw the picture up here.

Even worse than it looks...

Hard to believe, I know, but this "Chocolate Bread Pudding" was absolutely horrible.

It's just, lately, I've really gotten into baking. It's therapeutic and it makes me feel better. So, I had a hankering for some chocolate bread pudding and thought I'd just try my hand at making some. This is what happens when I'm alone. And considering how long Thomas is going to be in Hawaii you can probably expect to see a bunch of these posts. Anyways, this particular venture got complicated because I didn't have all the ingredients. So, I improvised. It tasted even more horrible than it looks and I know that is saying something because it looks really bad.

So, if you ever need a recipe for Chocolate Bread Pudding don't call me. Unless of course you want to make it for someone you really, really don't like...

Some much-needed Christmas cheer

Of course it was a tough Christmas this year. But, it was really important to Thomas that we have a good Christmas for the girls. Natalie would never have wanted us to spend the holiday sitting depressed. It wasn't easy but we did manage to celebrate with the girls and my family.

The night before Natalie's passing (Christmas Eve-eve) was one of the best nights we've had together as a family in a long time. I'm trying to decide if it was because it genuinely was one of the best or if it just seems that way compared to the sadness of the days immediately following.

Anyways, that night we baked about 5 dozen cookies for no particular reason, ordered pizza and watched "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" while eating in a living room floor picnic. The best part, though, was what you see in the picture above. I was taking care of some last-minute stuff around the house while the girls were drawing at the kitchen table. I left the kitchen for a while and when I came back saw the floor covered in their version of snow. They had torn apart a small composition notebook and thrown the little bits of paper all over the floor. My first instinct was to scold them. But, you know, they were just too darn cute throwing the paper all over the place and yelling, "Snow! Snow! It's snowing!" So, I grabbed some paper and tore up even more pieces for them to play with. We played in the "snow" for about 30 minutes until Thomas got home with the pizza. He wasn't quite sure what was going on when he opened the door to our mess, but he quickly joined in the fun adding some of the baking flour to the "snow." It was fun and a memory I will always cherish just because it was one of the purely spontaneous moments in family life that are so perfect you want to freeze them forever...

Monday, December 24, 2007

With the heaviest heart...

It is with much sadness that we say goodbye to Thomas' mom, Natalie, our Tutu. Natalie passed away Christmas Eve from complications that arose from her earlier surgery.

Our hearts are heavy with the sorrow of her loss but we rejoice in the knowledge that we will see her again in heaven. It has been a bittersweet Christmas as we celebrate our Savior's birth with the sadness of her absence. We had a collection of presents under our tree that she had sent us a couple of weeks ago and this morning as we opened them we felt the weight of the knowledge that these presents lovingly handpicked for us would be the last presents we would ever get from her.

It has been hard for Kai to understand but she has moments of undeniable wisdom that make us feel so small compared to her faith. She caught me crying (not that I have been good at hiding it) and told me not to be sad. She said that Tutu loved Jesus and God too much and she just couldn't stay here anymore. She said she loved them so much that she just had to go to heaven with them.

In the last year, Natalie had pursued a deeper and deeper relationship with God. She had absorbed God's word from a variety of avenues. I believe Kai is right. Her heart was so filled with the knowledge and understanding of His love that she just couldn't stay here one more second. We will miss her every day but rejoice in the knowledge that she is with Him forever. We are thankful that we can rest in the knowledge that we will see her again.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Elfin Christmas...

The Loving Family Presents...
Click link above to see some holiday cheer - Loving Family Style!

Feel better soon, TuTu...

Thomas' mom had heart surgery a couple days ago. We are so happy everything went smoothly and are praying for her every day. Feel better Natalie. We love you so much!

Six years

Due to the whole Christmas Eve factor in our anniversary, I know I won't get the chance to say this on our actual anniversary. I wanted to say it now so it doesn't get overlooked or forgotten by me.

I can't believe its been six years since Thomas and I eloped to Jamaica. I know that eloping on Christmas break to get married dead broke in a foreign country against your family's wishes in a $16 Goodwill suit and an irresponsibly & disproportionately expensive wedding dress is not exactly a recipe for a wonderful future, but somehow God worked it out according to His plan and we are blessed to have a wonderful life. Sometimes I wonder if I'd do things differently, and despite the fact that it was not the wedding I dreamed of as a little girl it was an incredibly special day and I wouldn't change it for anything.

Six years later, I love my husband more than I could ever imagine and I am blessed to share every day with my best friend in the world. I am thankful for the life we have made and for the special start we had. It was hard, but so worth it...

I love you, Thomas. Happy Anniversary!

Friday, December 21, 2007

It's no secret...

that I have a problem with the media's portrayal of women on so many levels. I've been horrified with the treatment of women in media since my years in college when I took an independent study art class on the power of female portrayal. But, my frustration multiplied when I saw how these images had the power to affect my girls.

Beyond the fact that the media's preoccupation with beauty and physical perfection is damaging girls by creating an impossible standard to live up to, it turns girls into these narcissistic and superficial little beings who are more obsessed with flavored lip gloss than affecting change in their world. Girls are taught to focus 90% of their attention on obtaining physical perfection. They perpetrate these crimes against each other as they enter school by competing for the attention and favor of boys. It is a self-perpetuating cycle that is leading to the devolution of girls/women in society.

Did you hear about the hundreds of thousands of pairs of underwear that had to be pulled from Wal-mart's shelves? They were in the same section of the store Kai would be "shopping." For girls aged 4 to 14. On the front of these bikini panties was the phrase: "Who needs money" Um, are you freaking kidding me? The implication is obvious. Its great being a girl! It's like being your own ATM machine. You just use what you've been given and you never have to worry about money again. Wow, a whole country of 4-year-old prostitutes in training. Of course, flip the panties around and you see, "when you have Santa." But, still, it is unbelievable. How nice to Santa does a little girl have to be to get presents for Christmas? For God's sake, on what planet did this seem like a good idea? Are we letting pedophiles design little girls' clothing now? It actually makes me physically sick to think about the direction we are taking our girls in this country. It terrifies me that my girls could get caught up in this current despite my best efforts to keep them out.

And don't even get me started on the impossible and unattainable images of beauty in the media. As women, we are striving to attain (and allowing our girls to strive for) an image that is impossible. And, just because you have boys doesn't mean you are exempt from this onslaught of media corruption. Boys are given this false picture of the perfect girl/woman and it is one that they will never find. The only possible outcome is a society of perpetually unhappy boys/men who are always seeking (and never finding) the image of beauty they are told they should seek to find.

Anyways, this all started because I wanted to blog about these Dove Beauty commercials. I'm not silly enough to believe they are purely interested in the well-being of girls' self-esteem, but I do think their campaign is great. Check out these videos...

amazing. makes me want to do everything in my power to protect my girls from feeling this pressure...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Happy Birthday Mom!!

She is going to kill me for this picture, but I just had to do it! It was taken 7 years ago on our crazy trip to Paris. It's definitely one of my favorites...

I love you, mom! Happy Birthday!

Total Truth Tuesday

Okay, it's late, I know. But it is technically before Midnight so it is still Tuesday. Hey, I could have posted it tomorrow and backdated it and no one would have been the wiser...

This Tuesday's total truth: If I could get away with it like Madonna, I would totally start speaking with a British accent.

I LOVE British accents and ever since I studied for a summer in Cambridge I have been obsessed with the place. If I could pick anywhere else to live, London would be my number 1 choice. But aside from the culture, literature, and history, I also really, really love to hear them speak. I mean say the word "vomit." Now, say it in your fake British accent. "Voh-mit" Even that word sounds better. I promise it works for any word. Botulism. Cockroach. Diaper. They all sound better. Actually, now that I think about it, more than hearing British accents I love using them.

And, oh. my. gosh. let's not even start talking about their wonderful slang. Nappy, snog, ciggy. Uh, and let's not forget fanny. You know what "fanny" means? It's absolutely hilarious. No, it's bloody hilarious. I can't ever look at a fanny pack again with out giggling.

I can't even tell you the number of times I've been out in public and tempted to use a fake accent. I have to avoid it because I know once I start I will never be able to stop. The next thing you know, you sound like Madonna and all your friends are talking behind your back and staging some kind of sad intervention...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Oh, this picture is so our family. In fact, its our Christmas card. Because, you know, we're crazy and this picture pretty much captures that. I just love how perfectly horrified Ivy looks as Kai smiles her most rascally smile.

We actually have a nice and orderly Christmas/Santa picture but we loved this one so much more. We just couldn't resist one that truly portrays life in the Loving family!

oh yeah...

For those who only check the site to see what our kids are up to (you know who you are grandparents on both sides) we've updated some pics in our "Christmas Festivities and other December Stuff" album.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Buttermilk Goodness

I hadn't made (or even had) a Buttermilk Pie until Thanksgiving, but they are quickly becoming my favorite. It's kind of like the poor man's creme brulee.

I had a mad baking urge at about 11pm and decided to make three to take to the girls' school tomorrow. Okay, two to take to school. One to keep for home. They've just come out of the oven and I can't wait to sneak a little taste while they're still warm.

I got the recipe out of one of my favorite cookbooks ever, A Taste of Georgia. Give it a try sometime and let me know what you think!

Oven: 350 for 45-50 minutes.
Yield: 1 (9-inch) pie

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 rounded Tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash Nutmeg
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell

Cream together sugar and butter. Add flour and eggs; beat well. Add buttermilk and flavorings. Pour into an unbaked 9-inch pie shell. Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes, or until top is lightly browned.

When the cat's away

You know what they say, right? Geez. They had to be talking about kids. I had an awful case of stomach flu one day last week and I was pretty much out of it for the whole day. That meant I trusted the girls to entertain themselves for too much of the day. It's not like I went out and left them home, I just sat on the sofa trying not to throw-up all day while they systematically destroyed the house I had cleaned the day before.

My favorite part of the day was when I foolishly asked Kai to watch her sister while they drew with markers. I told her there was to be NO drawing on walls, carpet, body parts, or furniture. Turns out I was just giving them ideas because look what I walked into when I finally scraped myself off the sofa to check on them...

Heavenly Zucchini Bread

Today the baking bug continued its hold on the Loving family and I recruited Thomas to help me bake some Zucchini Bread. Since we signed up for Off the Vine we have veggies coming out of our ears and we never can use them all up. So, I grabbed a recipe for this bread and set out to see if it was something that could make both little and big Lovings happy. It did!

I know Zucchini and heavenly don't generally go in the same sentence, but seriously folks this stuff is super good. In my opinion, the trick is to shred the zucchini as fine as possible and since we don't love nuts too much in bread we eliminated them altogether. What we got was a wonderfully soft, moist and sweet bread that is perfect warmed with a bit of butter.

It's not like you can't find a recipe for Zucchini Bread online, but I thought I'd post the one I used in case you'd like to give it a try. It sounds kinda gross, I know, but I promise you won't be disappointed!

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups zucchini, finely grated,raw and unpeeled
1 teaspoon cinnamon

**you can add 1 C of walnuts if you like nuts in your breads.

1. Beat together the eggs, sugar, and oil.
2. Add the other ingredients, beating well.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour in two oiled and floured loaf pans.

If you try it let me know what you think!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

So not funny...

There is nothing funny about the stomach flu. Or wearing a grandma-looking red flannel nightgown all day. Or running out to McDonald's on an empty tank of gas and running out of gas on the side of the road with two starving preschoolers in the car.

There is nothing funny about needing your baby sister to come rescue you because your husband is stuck working late or not being able to figure how out the gas can works and having to wait until a very nice police officer passes by and helps you pour gas in your car. There is nothing funny about still not being able to start your car and having to push your car down the road until it is level and not leaning to one side and causing the gas in the tank to be inaccessible to the engine. There is especially nothing funny about doing all of this while clad in your horrible red flannel grandma nightgown and flip flops.

Here's the question, if none of this funny why is everyone laughing at me?

Holiday Baking

I am loving the holiday baking. Today I made 9 dozen Shortbread cookies for our small group friends and for other holiday stuff. I thought they turned out pretty awesome. Shortbread is one of my new favorite cookies to make and eat. They're not too sweet so you can eat them without sugar overload and they are about the easiest cookies in the world to make. There are a ton of good recipes out there, but I'll give you mine in case you feel like giving them a try.

1 1/2 Cups Softened Butter
3/4 Cup Sugar
3 Cups Flour

Cream together Butter and Sugar. Add in Flour one cup at a time. Mix well (but not too well). Roll into 1-inch balls. Bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I have this recurring dream...

and it's one of the most anxiety producing dreams I've ever had. In my dream, I realize I'm in school. And that I've been in school a whole semester but I'm only now aware of it. Which means, I've missed every single class but I still have exams. And I am expected to get a perfect grade on exams or else I fail. Last night, in the dream, I had four open book exams and I had to take them all at once. I had to finish them in 3 hours. The only problem (besides the obvious) was that all of my books had pages made of nylon. As in, nylon pantyhose. So, I couldn't flip through the pages. The worse part was that Kai was in one of the classes and acing the tests.

My professors were one of Kai's preschool teachers, Dumbledore, Janice Dickinson, and Tyra Banks and were completely unforgiving. In the end I only had 30 minutes of time left to finish all 4 tests. I woke up right about then, but I'm thinking I failed the tests...

Any clues to what it means?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

For Natalie, as promised...

Kai had her Christmas program at school the other night. I promised I'd put video up but it's not great. Kai's the type of kid who hangs out in the back to play with everything on stage. Doesn't make it easy to film so there is just a little bit of video here with her wiggling around and singing. We'll tape an encore so she can show off her mad singing skills.

In the meantime:

Vintage Christmas Fun

This little angel begged us to take her home the other day. We couldn't resist. She's part of our Christmas decor now, and after the holidays she is going to live in the girls' room as their night light.

Total Truth Tuesday

In an effort to have something to blog about every single day I have designated Tuesday my Total Truth day. Tuesday is the day I'll spill the beans more than usual and admit all my embarrassing and little known facts. And since it is total truth, I'll leave out the exaggerated bits. Just the facts. I promise.

Here we go.

Total Truth: In our house, childrens' socks are disposable. It's not that we throw them away after we're done wearing them, it is just that socks seem to disappear the moment they leave the foot. It goes beyond the whole socks disappearing in the dryer phenomenon.

I will buy a 12-pair pack of kids/toddler socks and at the end of the month, I can only find two or three. Not two or three pairs, two or three socks. I have tried any number of methods of keeping track of them but all to no avail. It is hopeless.

I've tried pairing them up when they come off the feet. Stuffing them in shoes until I do laundry. Collecting them in their own special laundry bin. They always disappear. I've begun to think when we move out of this house, the new owners will find 700 individual baby socks collected in some air conditioning duct.

It has even gotten to the point that I am overcome with anxiety when buying a pack of socks because I KNOW they will disappear into the abyss in just a short amount of time. My kids go to school even in winter without socks on their feet just because their mother is too freaked out at the prospect of buying more socks to offer up to the sock monster in their home. It is mystifying. It is shameful. It is totally true. No exaggeration.

But, I have found a somewhat okay solution for winter. We've started buying tights. Tights stay put. I have pairs of tights from when Kai was a newborn. So, for now, we're wearing tights under skirts, pants, jeans, and every thing else you can imagine. It may not be the best solution, but it keeps the sock monster away and that I can live with.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Project Weight Loss: Day One

Since giving birth to my second child I have put on a significant amount of weight. I am saying this because I don't doubt you have noticed and by ignoring it I am making it into something bigger (pardon the pun) than it is. It does not have to be such a highly emotional and sensitive issue. It is what it is.

So, that said, I have decided to embark on a public weight loss crusade. I am going to use my blog to keep me accountable to this lifestyle change I am professing to make.

My Goal.

I am currently 1x6 pounds. (I'm using the x because I am not willing to make it that public just yet). My goal in the next month is to lose 10 pounds and weigh in at 1w6 pounds. (notice how I am going backward in the alphabet?) my goal is to get to 1v5 pounds. I will set a new goal then.

My Plan.

I am going to cut out all non-diet sodas. I know I should cut out all sodas, but come on guys, baby steps. I am going to drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water a day. I am going to cut out all fast food. I am going to the gym at least 3 days a week. I am going to follow a low calorie diet and not consume more than 1500 calories a day.

That is my starting point. It isn't super hard-core, I know, but it is what I can commit to now. Hopefully, you'll see me 10 lbs lighter next month!

Wish me luck!!

Blog from the Past

I found this blog today that I had written on 6/14/2005 but never posted. Kai would have been just a little over a year old. Younger even than Ivy. But, she was a handful even then. It's funny to take a trip down memory lane...


I had to call my mom the other day and ask her one simple question. Did she spend the last 26 years of my life praying that I would give birth the strongest-willed child on the planet? She assures me that no, she did not make a pact with God to give me the most amazingly challenging and independent temper tantrum on two legs. She said she knew she didn't have to ask for it. She knew it would happen. Guess that means God is a just God.

What, you ask, could Kai have done to warrant such a tirade on her temperament? Oh so much! But, here is just one small example. The other day as I was putting her down for a nap she expressed (ever so meekly) her unhappiness at the prospect of sleep. So, I told her, just lay here in the peace and quite of your darkened room and give it a try. If, after 10 minutes, you don't feel like sleeping you can get up. After 6 excruciating minutes of crying and screaming and hysterics, I ventured into her room to accept her wrath. When I got to her, I found that her arms were covered from her fingers to her elbows in huge welts in the pattern of her mouth. That's right, folks. Teeth marks. She bit herself all up and down her arms. Even I have never been that mad. So, needless to say, I am praying that this is just a stage that will zoom past us though, if her mother is any indication, we may be in for a long 26 (and counting) years before this temper thing wears off!

Brenau, how sadly we see thee...

I have always had a strong affection for my Alma Mater. I felt that even though it was not considered a prestigious or glamorous school, I could still say I graduated from there with my head held high. But, sadly, no more can I do such things.

The other day while driving in the car I heard a radio ad for a local school. In it, a very southern man described how much he loved his school. They helped him when he was deployed to get his degree. They worked with him and his work schedule to get his assignments done. All very honorable, I agree, but when I heard the name of his school I nearly had a fit. Brenau University. SHUT UP! This middle-aged southern soldier is the new face of my alma mater? The women's college I graduated from? For real?

My problem wasn't really with the nice man who spoke in the ad, but rather with the fact that my university was abandoning the very qualities that made me value it. This place where I learned about feminism and the evil of gender role stereotypes has now decided to use this man as our representative? Not to mention the fact that the ad itself was very DeVry/ITT Tech of them. I mean, I have nothing against those types of schools. Its just that I chose a small liberal arts school where I could have personal interaction with professors in the English department.

But, now, when I tell people where I went to school I can imagine them glazing over in disrespect for my education. And since they already do that when I tell them I'm a stay-at-home mom I just can't take it on another level.

As such, I have been prompted to remake our alma mater's song. For those of you who have never heard it, it probably will have no impact. But, for all of my fellow alums, you can see my glaringly obvious disrespect for the new direction of our school.

Brenau, how sadly we see thee
with honor richly drowned
in this academic wasteland
thy name's been run into the ground.
Oh hated the day that I heard it
on my car stereo
Brenau sold its soul for the money
and my degree is a joke.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Kai-versations: The Marriage Edition

With one aunt newly married and another newly engaged, Kai has become fascinated with marriage. She is still trying to get used to the idea of marrying a "stranger" and not her dad. But, the other night we were talking and she asked who she was going to marry. We told her only God knew that and she asked,

"Well, whoever he is, is he going to save me from you guys?"


Kai has just come to the realization that when she gets married she is going to go and live with her husband. She asked us the other night if she could still live with us when she got married. We told her no that she would have to live with her husband in her own house. This made her super upset and she announced determinedly,

"Never mind, then. I am just going to marry myself!"

Thursday, December 6, 2007

New Look. New Site.

So, we got tired of iWeb's difficult and often annoying set-up and decided to make the switch to a more user-friendly site with more options. All the features should be the same (though possibly in different places), but it may take us a few days to switch everything around. You'll notice our photo gallery to the right and we've included a link to our old site so you can see everything (photos, blogs, etc) we used to have up.

I've tried to transfer over as much of my blog as possible but there is a ton of stuff on the old site. The good news is this site will allow us to post more things easily and more frequently! The design is kind of a standard template so bear with us on that because Thomas is redesigning something as we speak!

Expect to start hearing from Thomas soon, too, because this will allow him to blog more easily!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Mom, that boy's a girl!

Tonight Thomas and I were arguing about which stars look worst without make-up. We were surfing this site and Kai came over to check it out.

"What's that?!" she asked?
"You tell me," I prompted "What does it look like to you?"
She stared at the screen in confusion.
"Is it a boy or a girl?" I asked.
"A girl." she said definitively.
When I told her that, in fact, it was a boy. She laughed heartily and exclaimed. "No way, Mom. She's wearing lipstick!"

**My apologies, by the way, for forcing you to be greeted by this disturbing photo. I promise to blog something else soon so it moves further down the page!**

How to tell your addiction to Craigslist has gone too far...

Everyone knows I love Craigslist. I sell things on it all the time. Thomas and I always joke that since I'm staying home with the girls now, Craigslist has taken over paying my salary. I love it! But, I think perhaps I have been spending too much time on it because it seems to be rubbing off a little on the girls.

The other day Kai decided to try a new cereal. She passed up her usual Fruity Pebbles at the grocery store and instead picked a Barbie Princess cereal. Upon trying it for the first time, she determined she did not in fact like it and wanted to go back to eating Fruity Pebbles. When I told her she had to eat the Barbie Cereal we bought she said she just wanted to throw it away. I told her that was wasteful and not a good choice. "Fine," she sighed frustrated. "Let's just sell the rest of it on Craigslist."

Hmmm...I wonder if I could? : )

Hooray for Advent!

Okay...tease me if you want (everyone has been) but I LOVE Advent. I think it is so special to celebrate. So, since tonight is the first Sunday of December we started Advent and we’ll be doing Advent related devotionals all month. I just think it’s one of those special things about this time of year that keep us mindful of why we are celebrating Christmas in the first place.

Gettin' Crafty

Maybe it’s the time of year but we’ve been getting super crafty around the Loving house. In alot of my online sewing/crafting/mommy communities people are making holiday pledges NOT to buy anything that is mass produced. They are vowing to either hand make or buy handmade gifts for everyone on their lists. I want to make the commitment to only give homemade gifts this year, but I just can’t quite do it. But, I am planning on making a lot of presents for friends and family. Just so you know, if you do get a handmade gift from me it is not because I was being cheap it’s because I genuinely wanted to make you something cool. (Now, on the flip side if you don’t get something handmade chances are I wasn’t skilled enough to pull off the cool thing I had in mind for you).

Anyways, that said, I’ve tried my hand at doll making lately. Kai’s friend Sydney had a birthday coming up and we knew we wanted to make her something fun. So, we practiced on the kitty cat doll above and learned a little about doll making. I still have alot to learn though for the record he was intentionally a bit wonky looking because we thought it gave him some character.

So, having completed one we set out to build Sydney’s bunny. I had initially told Kai she could choose to make any stuffed animal for Sydney. She requested a Rhinoceros. I told her she could pick any animal that is a bunny, kitty, puppy, or bear. She picked bunny. She also picked out all of the fabrics, colors, & eyes. Here are some pics of Sydney’s doll.

Notice, we put Sydney’s name on the heart? She turned out really soft and floppy. She’s a bit wonky in places, too, but I still think that gives her some character. Anyways, I’m happy with how she turned out. And Kai kept asking if she could keep her and give another one to Sydney...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

okay, so i can't cook...

I can do lots of things. I can write some kick-ass haiku. I can bargain shop like a mad-woman. I can do math in my head. I can read really fast. I cannot, however, cook well. Not at all. The picture above was taken by Thomas in an attempt to capture my inability to cook. See, on more than one occasion Thomas has come home to smoke and the scent of charred food in our kitchen. I burn lots of things. Steaks, hamburger helper, scalloped potatoes (see above pic). I undercook lots of things. Pizza, fish, chicken, biscuits. I am a menace in the kitchen. To be honest, I’d rather clean the kitchen than cook in it.

The story of the scalloped potatoes pretty much sums up my cooking abilities. One night I made a boxed scalloped potato casserole. It was pretty simple. I boil water, add the packets, and bake. After it was finished, I took it out and set it on the stove to cool. But, guess what? It didn’t cool. It actually seemed to get hotter and hotter. I noticed it steaming, and then bubbling, and then smoking over the course of about 10 minutes. Perplexed, I walked over to see what was going on only to realize I had left the stove on from when I boiled the water. That meant they were cooking the whole time. I scooted them back off the burner and BAM! the whole dish exploded. Scalloped potatoes and glass covered the kitchen. We went to Cici’s which has now become our favorite “Jenna-burned-the-dinner-so-let’s-get-out-of-the-house spot.”

Oh well. At least I still have haiku.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Couldn't you have kept that a metaphor?

Life is funny. Except when you’re the person its happening to.

Let’s say there was this hypothetical couple. Let’s say they depend on one person’s job and perhaps things have been a little tense at work. Let’s say the breadwinner in said family became (even if temporarily) very unhappy in his workplace dynamic. And let’s say that said breadwinner has a horrible day. A really, really horrible day. One might say a crappy day (though hypothetical wife would actually probably say something worse, but crappy will suffice). Let’s say after this particularly bad day they have a bad dinner at a restaurant that is having a bad night and they come home to get their kids ready for bed. Let’s say as they are discussing their respectively horrible experiences for the day, their youngest decides the tub should become a metaphor for her parents’ day and accomplishes this by literally translating into the tub the “crappy” day that she’s heard her parents discussing. Let’s say her parents decide to pack up and move rather than cleaning it up.

Anyone looking for a house? or two kids?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

One more prayer...

I couldn’t resist sharing the one that she said at lunch today:

Dear God-

Thank you for this food and this family. And, God, please let Sunday be my birthday because I really, really want it to be my birthday.



Hey, God, if you’re so inclined I’d really like it to be my birthday, too...

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Kai has this new habit of running and jumping onto her dad’s lap. It’s sweet, really, except sometimes her aim is not so good - or too good depending on how you look at it. Thomas keeps telling her she has to be careful when she jumps on him (especially if she wants anymore siblings). So, the tonight at Jumpin’ Jacks Playland Kai came over and landed knees first into her dad’s lap. Not good. He asked her again to please be careful and I, tired of skirting the issue, decided to take her aside and explain exactly what was going on. I reminded her that boys and girls are made differently and that boys have extra parts that can get hurt when someone hits them or jumps on them. She looked at me knowingly and seem to completely understand. I was really proud of both of us for handling it in such an up-front, grown-up manner. That is, until she walked over to her daddy and announced loudly and apologetically, “Hey, Dad, I’m sorry for jumping on you. I know you have a long thing there. Sorry.” To which Thomas replied, “Um, okay. Go slide.”

That’s had me giggling all night!

Good dog.

Hiro has been living outdoors lately. By lately I mean, the last 6 months. But, when we brought her home we never intended for her to live outside and I’ve always felt guilty about it. We’ve just been a little overwhelmed with two kids and work and having our big lovable oafish puppy in the house just seemed like the least logical thing to do. But, as the nights have been getting colder we decided her move into the house was long overdue. The only problem? She has a few behavior issues. So, in desperation, we bought a buzzer collar (notice how I avoided the word “shock”?). Every time she indulges in her naughty behavior we make it sound off a little noise. If that doesn’t work, we then press the button to send a little buzzing nudge on her neck. Before you judge us as cruel and inhumane pet owners, try to imagine a 110 pound dog sneaking up and jumping on your back. It isn’t a pretty sight. Funny, yes. Pretty, no.

Much to our delight, she has responded wonderfully well to the collar. After a few little buzzes, she has basically learned not to do the things that cause the most damage. Chewing, jumping, rough-housing have all come to an end. As I type, she’s curled up at my feet snoring loudly. She’s loving the indoor life. And loves being part of the family again. Yeah, for Hiro. And, double yeah for super humane buzzer (shock) collars.

Kai-versations, The Gender Confused Edition

The other day Kai had to go potty and went into the bathroom. She stood in front of the toilet, looked me dead in the eye and said, “Hey, Mom, when I grow up can I get a line like Walker?” Not sure what she meant, I asked her to explain. “You know, a LINE. You can hold it and make it go pee in the potty. Walker has a line and I want one, too. Can I get one?”

Um...please tell me this is not something I have to worry about.


At Kai’s Thanksgiving party I asked her to point out her boyfriend Dylan, who I had been hearing alot about at home. But, she told me he wasn’t her boyfriend anymore.

“Why not?” I asked
“Oh, Frannie said I couldn’t have him. He’s her boyfriend.”
“I’m sorry, sweetie.”
“That’s okay, Mom. I have a girlfriend now. Her name is Gracie. She is so sweet.”

Can’t they give us a manual on how to handle these conversations?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

You know you have girls when...

you can do an entire load of pink clothes without even scouring the laundry baskets for clothes of the same color. At what age do we stop dressing in such “gender specific” colors? I wonder if the pink=girls and blue=boys is some socially universal convention? Or is it in other countries that green=girls and orange=boys?

I’d be curious to know...

Monday, November 19, 2007

The verdict is in: good...I think.

Okay, so the other night we made a family trip to our local Publix and the only “go-go cart” available was one of the special new TV carts. So, we forked over a buck and tried it out. Oh, new TV cart, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

1. Though they were entertained and not loud at all what little noise they did make was unheard because the cart was virtually sound-proof for us. The front of the cart is open, but the sound projects forward and not back to where the parents are standing.

2. The doors lock. Let me say that again, THE DOORS LOCK! That is an awesome, awesome thing! They lock in such a way as to make it impossible for the kids to unlock them on their own.

3. The obvious reason to love it, the TV. It plays Bob the Builder, Dora, or Barney depending on which cart you pick and it plays it the entire time you use the cart. It shuts off at check-out and the cart locks down five minutes after you pay for your groceries, but while you are in the store the TV keeps the kids entertained.

4. It worked. It really, really worked. We had a happy, peaceful visit to the grocery and no one left in tears...not even Thomas! : )

So, I guess I’ve decided that the pros of a happy trip to the grocery outweigh the cons of having a TV in a grocery cart. Not because it is okay to sedate our kids, but because it is good to have them happy while we drag them through the excruciatingly painful task of shopping in a busy supermarket. They are happy. We are happy. Fellow grocery shoppers are happy. How can something wrong feel so right?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Oh how I love you, Off The Vine...

The ridiculousness of my recent affection for veggies and fruit does not go unnoticed by my, in case you were wondering. But, I have to tell you about this amazing new discovery that I owe to my good friend, Brenda. There is a local company in thee area that delivers fresh local produce to people in the greater Atlanta area. Every two weeks you receive a bushel of fruit and veggies. Each delivery will be different - depending on what is in season. And it is so wonderful!

We got our first delivery last Tuesday and seeing it by the door waiting for me was like Christmas morning! In our basket we got, green beans, grapefruits, cabbage, zucchini, squash, melon, apples, scallions, avocado, potatoes, lettuce, & red peppers. For $50 they deliver two weeks worth of produce to your door and starting this week they will be offering organic produce. They’ll also throw in some homemade jam.

Okay, so before you give me the award for most boring blog ever, let me tell you what we’ve done with this basket o’ goodies. We’ve made:

-Grilled Veggie & Lettuce Salad
-Corned Beef & Cabbage Pasta
-Speck Und Bona (Dutch Ham & Green Beans)
-Grapefruit & Vinaigrette Mixed Green Salad
-Delicious (if I do say so) Apple Pie
-PB & J with the Best Homemade Mixed Berry Jam

Not to mention, countless fruit and veggie snacks for ourselves and the girls. It has encouraged us to eat healthier and more creatively, and makes us feel good about supporting local growers. Check them out at You’ll be so happy you did!

Monday, November 12, 2007

hmmm...good or evil? i can't decide.

I saw this shopping cart in Publix today that offered a Bob the Builder Tv show inside the cart. It had a tv screen inside the cage-like place for kids to sit and for $1 they kids can watch TV while you shop. My initial reaction was: AWESOME! Then, I started to weigh the long-term consequences of this invention.

Trust me, I want to grocery shop in peace as much as any parent and I am not always super picky about how I get that peace. But, the idea that TV is moving into yet another arena of everyday life is a bit disturbing. I hate to anesthetize my kids with TV every second of the day. These inventions, it seems. prey on the desperation of parents whose busy lives require them to bring their children along with them. Don’t get me wrong. I am not so pious as to say I would never be tempted to use this new grocery cart. I just don’t know if it is a good idea...

Here’s the info I found on them when I searched the web:

Publix Super Markets in Atlanta, Georgia will be testing a new high-tech shopping cart. The new TV Cart is basically for the kids, but really for everyone else visiting the store.
The idea it to keep the little ones quiet by putting them in front of yet another TV, in the actual mini shopping cart. Kids, and adults, will be delighted to see shows such as Barney, The Wiggles & Bob the Builder. The carts will be available for $1 and can be used for the length of your visit.

Congratulations Eryn & Jared!

Guess who’s getting married? Yep, my baby sister! She and Jared got engaged on Sunday and we are all so excited for them!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Kitchen Tag

Okay, it’s my first ever blog tag. So, here we go. I got tagged by our friends the Peters to list 8 random facts about my kitchen. Here are my facts:

1. When I start cleaning the house I ALWAYS start with the kitchen. If it’s spotless, I feel like the whole house is happier.

2. I love my retro kitchen and have fully embraced the design with a retro 50’s dinette table & chairs and vintage(looking) Coca-Cola signs. We also collect vintage/antique cooking utensils to hang in our kitchen.

3. I am terrible at making everyday meals. I once made a glass casserole dish of Scalloped Potatoes (from a box mix) explode all over the kitchen. I’ve also made charred Hamburger Helper on numerous occasions.

4. My built-in oven is the smallest size that you can buy. At 24” wide it barely fits most of our cookie sheets!

5. My kitchen table doubles as a kids’ craft table and has a spot of glittery glue on the top that is impossible to get off.

6. We moved our refrigerator out of our kitchen and into the pantry to make more room in our tiny kitchen. It was the best idea ever and we owe it to my mom!

7. We love chalkboard paint and have used it to create two homemade chalkboards for our kitchen. One is filled with the details of our life and serves as a family scheduler.

8. If I came into a pile of cash, I’d change out all my white appliances for the stainless ones that don’t show fingerprints.

Okay, and sadly, I have no one left to tag. The Peters are our only blogging friends and they are the ones who tagged me. So, come on friends of mine, start blogging so you can join in the fun!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

More Kai-versations

Ivy, upon waking up from nap: “Ah-wana Buhuuush”
Mom: “What did you say, sweetie?”
Kai, exasperated and rolling her eyes: “Mom, she’s talkin’ Spanish!”


The other day Kai tried to help me do the laundry. Without me asking her to. Which is a nice way of saying she half-climbed onto the washer and pulled down the detergent getting Tide powder in her eye. She REFUSED to let us wash it out so her Dad, in a moment of not so wonderful insight, decided to persuade her by telling her if we didn’t she’d go blind. He then proceeded to tell her what that meant. She, in turn, began screaming hysterically. But, she did let us flush her eye out. She, of course, ended up with water all over her. Later, she realized she had water on her sleeves and tried to get her shirt off desperately exclaiming:

“Help me, Mom! I have BLIND all over me!” : )

Friday, October 26, 2007


Kai is starting to get serious about praying. She prays every night before bed and generally always before meals. She is so precious and serious when she talks to God. Here are some excerpts from her most recent prayers...

This first one was said with her volume turned up to 11 in a booth at Long John Silver’s. In fact, it was so funny (and LOUD) someone from a neighboring table came over to tell her how much he liked her prayer!

“Dear God-

Thank you for this food. Thank you for our family.

And, God, we never talk to strangers. Not ever. Because everyone knows it is a bad choice to talk to strangers. Talking to strangers is scary because you never know who a stranger is.


* I don’t know if she was reminding God or just confirming the info her parents told her in case He didn’t know whether or not she was aware of the rules. But, it was darn cute!

“Dear God-

I love you. Alot. Forever. And you love me.

Thank you for our family and food. Thank you for the sun and this land. Because this land is good.
Thank you for pumpkins and Halloween. This year I am going to be a fairy. And I hope Ivy will be a good goat for Halloween.

I promise I am going to be a good listener.

Thank you for Ms. Kum Kum’s birthday. I hope you will stay with me forever because I love you and you love me.


“Dear God-

Thank you for the Lord. And for this family. And for green eyes.”

*Dear God-

Thank you for the sun and the moon and the apple trees. And for apples. And for soap.”

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I heart Thomas (& The Jane Austen Book Club)

It has been so long since I’ve been to a movie I wanted to see. Painfully long. Tragically long. So, tonight when my husband asked what movie in the theaters I’d go see if I could I didn’t even care when I thought he was going to illegally pirate one of the movies online. But, imagine my surprise when he told me that my sister (Thank you Eryn!!) was coming over to watch the girls so we could go on a date. I was so excited. And to make things even better, he was going to leave it to me which movie we went to see.

So, seeing as how I constantly get dragged (albeit not always against my will) to sci-fi or similarly ungirly movies, I decided to see The Jane Austen Book Club.

Can I tell you how much I LOVED this movie? It was a movie about a bunch of women (and one highly evolved man) who sit around reading one of the greatest authors of all time and finding how her characters are amazingly relevant to their own lives. It was very much a chick flick, but still Thomas (and I hope he doesn’t mind me revealing this) loved it as well.

It of course made me miss my days in school as an English major and I found myself longing for a women’s book club. I am on a new mission to start a women’s book club so expect to be getting an email from me soon. I need some good old-fashioned girl time with a literary focus. Let me know if you’re interested...

**On a completely unrelated note, can I tell you what I learned after the movie? You know those strange people in the theater who sit there for so long after the movie is over seemingly enthralled with the end credits? The ones who make no move to get up and seem reluctant to recognize that the movie has actually ended? It is entirely possible that they do that because they have very young children at home and almost never get to go to the movies and the thought of leaving and not being able to come back for so long makes then unable to leave their chairs. They want to hold onto the moment for as long as possible. They’re not weird, they’re just desperate to hold on to such a rare and precious theatrical experience. So, please quit judging them. And don’t look at them questioningly wondering why they aren’t getting out of their chairs. Not every one can go to the theater as often as you, okay? Geez.**

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Shame, shame, shame...

Do you have someone in your life who embarrasses you every time you go out together? You know what I’m talking about, right? One of those people who always says the wrong thing, makes some snarky comment to strangers, or flat out loses their cool in public when they take issue with the way things are handled by another person or company. I have such a person in my life. Unfortunately, she goes with me everywhere I go. Because, even more unfortunately, that person is me.

It seems I cannot go out without embarrassing myself. Even as I type this, I am feeling the sting of shame on my face. And, all I have to say is three words for you to know what a disaster I experienced today. Social Security Administration. This place would bring the worst out of a normal person, so can you imagine what it did to me? Not good.

See, I had to go down there because a certain husband (who shall remain nameless) threw away the Social Security Card of a certain infant child (who shall also remain nameless). Unfortunately, since we need the social security number to file our taxes on Oct. 15th (I know...we’re procrastinators) I had to go into the office and get a new card. Which was horrible. Everything you have heard about the Social Security Office is true. It is not a good place.

The lines are long. The people are rude. And the entire place is steeped in frustration. And that is exactly why I had butterflies in my stomach the entire way there. Because I know my track record in situations like this is bad, bad, bad.

I came prepared. I had the application, my i.d., and Ivy’s Insurance Card, Proof of Insurance Letter, Medical Bill, and Explanation of Medical Benefits (all of which I was TOLD by the woman on the phone was plenty to prove her identity). Can you guess what happened? The Queen of the Social Security Administration looked up her number, finished filling out the application, and then he told me (rather condescendingly) that I didn’t have anything with her D.O.B. on it so he couldn’t help me. I got upset. Really upset. So, I pitched a little fit. And he was unrelenting and mocking me. I expressed my extreme frustration rather vocally, snapped up the application, and stormed out. Luckily, I kept my head enough to grab the application which he had written her Social on so I didn’t have to worry about getting the card anymore. But, how stupid is that? He can give me her social security number, but not let me apply for a card? Do you know how much damage I can do with just the number? Alot.Well, maybe not me, since I don’t really know how to do criminal things, but the wrong person could. And God forbid he send me (her MOTHER) the card in the mail to the address actually registered to her name.

Oh well. Its a government agency so I knew it wasn’t going to do anything that made sense. Still, the worst part was my embarrassing behavior. I’m sure he’s still laughing at the indignant huff I marched out in. Is it any wonder my children throw fits like they do?

There is this idea that Hawaii is nothing but beautiful beaches and lush scenery. Until recently, I thought that, too. But, on our way to visit Thomas’ grandma’s house we passed by a section of beach that totally changed my mind. The interesting thing about Hawaii is that the beaches belong to the people. All of the people. So, when people run out of housing options and can’t afford the crazy rent in the escalating housing market, people end up one place. The beach. Out in Waianae you’ll be driving down the road with a beautiful beach on your left and suddenly you come upon a stretch of beach with rows of tents, tarps, cars, and other signs of a makeshift house. We asked Thomas’ parents about it and they told us that the housing market is out of control over there and these people aren’t homeless because they don’t have jobs. They are homeless because their jobs don’t pay them enough to afford homes for their families and they are forced out onto the beach. They’re working people with families who are drawn to the beaches because of the facilities (shower, restrooms, etc.) and the easy access to fishing for food.

The sad thing is that this is not just a random tent here and there. You’ll be driving along and come upon a mile stretch of this type of thing. Like a little neighborhood. People have their cars, grills, multiple tents, shopping carts, and all other personal belongings. There are children and families, elderly people and pregnant women. It is heartbreaking and makes me realize how blind I can be to poverty on a daily basis. Check out the picture on the right. Its the little kid’s car that absolutely kills me. I saw a dad with his daughter playing outside one of these tent houses and the two seemed to be as carefree as any father/daughter in their front yard. It was heartbreaking and reminded me how easily anyone can be thrown into a situation like that. I’m vowing to count my blessings more frequently now, because I seem to forget how easily they could be gone.