Thursday, December 28, 2006

Government Snooping

I'm glad that my SIL Megan can live in China and serve the people over there because that is something that I, personally, would not be able to do. I'm too free-spirited and would not tolerate the restraints on my freedoms that living in a Communist country requires.

GET THIS. Here is an e-mail I just got from Megan. I sent her a Christmas package and a birthday package--one in November and one a few weeks ago. She got both of them around the same time.

"I just got my birthday package today. I love the shirt. It looks adorable and I can't wait to try it on.

"I do have a strange question though. On the outside of the birthday package, the little green note [customs form] said that there was clothes and a book. The package had been taped shut with China packing tape so I don't know if there really was a book enclosed and China decided they wanted to read it ... Just curious."

You know what it was? It was a book of Sudoku puzzles for Megan to do when she gets bored! I thought I was being so brilliant by remembering to NOT send her anything religious, too.

Why would China censor a book, with hardly any words in it, that originated in Japan? I guess I don't know very much about foreign relations. I know China hates Taiwan but I didn't realize there were hard feelings toward Japan??? Or maybe the customs guy over there just wanted to do the puzzles himself and stole it? I don't get it! But, in any event, it makes me really annoyed.

Just knowing someone who lives over there and--and being on my end of it over here--makes me appreciate my freedoms in America even more. At least in my country government officials don't snoop through my mail and take things that belong to me.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Snow Flakes and Bran Flakes

Christmas was so much fun this year because Meredith “got” it. She was so excited to partake in everything. The first present she opened was a little rocking chair from my parents. She didn’t want to open anything else right away. She just wanted to rock back and forth with her dolly. We had to hide every present as soon as she opened it in order for her to want to open the next one. I’m sure this is a familiar story to a lot of you parents out there.

Here is a picture of Meredith with her new rocking chair. As you can see, she is very happy about it.

This was our first Christmas, since being married, to be in our own home for Christmas morning. After doing our thing here, we went to Kev’s parents’ house for more gala and a Christmas brunch. Then more family came over. Then, as soon as family was leaving, friends from church came over and stayed until midnight. Right before we left Kevin’s family’s house, the rain that had been falling all day turned into mammoth snowflakes!

I got my wish … a white Christmas.

I have been wanting to get a few things to help celebrate next Christmas – like a felt advent calendar and a kid-friendly nativity scene that Meredith can play with. So on Tuesday I hit-up the after-Christmas sales.

A friend had given me a coupon book for the Circle Centre mall. The coupons included a free ring-cleaning and a free gourmet coffee from the Nordstrom Espresso Bar! I had a blast shopping by myself and getting my freebies. Kevin thinks I’m weird because I like to shop by myself.

I should have realized after having such a good day that I would have a bad one. Today I’ve had the worst morning sickness yet. To top it off, I didn’t sleep well last night and was exhausted this morning when Meredith got up. So, I let her freely roam the house while I tried to get more sleep.

I woke up at 9:30 to discover that she had climbed on the table and dumped a box of Raisin Bran everywhere. There were trails of crushed bran flakes scattered all over the kitchen, dining room, living room, and partially up the stair way.

Curiously, there were not any sugar-coated raisins (“rai-rais”) to be found anywhere. Not even a single one! She had rummaged through the bran flakes and eaten the thing she liked, leaving the rest behind.

Ah, well … At least I got a nap out of the deal.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Pink or Blue?

Check back sometime in early August 2007 to find out which one it's going to be.

Christmas at the Zoo

Who would want to go to the zoo in the dark when it’s raining, just four days before Christmas?

That’s what we did last night and I would love to make it an annual event. Although I think snow would be better than rain for next year.

A tourism website described it as experiencing the “soft glow of a million twinkling lights.”

It was amazing. I have never seen so many lights all in one place. The zoo is fairly wooded and every tree was strung with hundreds of lights, with lights on all the buildings, and lots of separate light displays set up along the walkways. It was truly beautiful and very festive.

The best news is that our tickets are good through December 30. So, I’m hoping we can go again!

Afterwards Kevin’s family came over for hot chocolate and shortbread. Actually, I’d never done it before but I made homemade marshmallows. They were very yummy and surprisingly easy to make. I’m going to see if I can freeze them successfully. If they’re still good after being frozen I’m going to consider making them in bulk to enjoy all winter long. Yum.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Monkey Influence

I was so happy to realize that Meredith’s hair is now long enough to put in a pony tail and piggy tails. The only problem is that she keeps ripping out the hair bands.

Yesterday I put my hair up in a pony tail to show her how nice it looks on me and how pretty she could look too. This was not convincing to her at all. She looked at me for five seconds and then, once again, ripped out her pony tail and walked away.

This morning I was reading a book to Meredith and noticed that a cartoon monkey on the page was wearing her hair pulled up in a pony tail. I pointed this out to Meredith. Then I went and got a hair band and put her hair in a pony tail “just like the monkey.” I kept telling her that she looked “so pretty, like the monkey.”

She kept the pony tail in ALL morning long, until her afternoon nap! From time to time she would point to it and very happily say “monkey!”

I’m sure it helped that Meredith has really been into monkeys lately, including Curious George.

Apparently Meredith thinks monkeys look cool--and she wants to be like them--but her mom does not. I'll try not to be bothered by this.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Downhill towards Christmas …

Kevin is smiling happy smiles today as he just finished taking his fifth and last final exam. His exams were spread out over a two-and-a-half week period. (F-o-r-e-v-e-r.) We are all glad he’s done! I’m very proud of him for working so hard this semester. It’s been a big adjustment to go from practicing law for three years to being a student again, while still juggling work responsibilities and family time, but he’s done well. And here is very exciting news – he’s one-fourth of the way done. Yippppeeee!!

Meredith has been enjoying her chocolate advent calendar that a friend got for her. It’s from Trader Joe’s and every day she opens a new window where there’s a toy-shaped piece of chocolate awaiting her. She has a very hard time understanding why she only gets to do this once a day. Every time she passes by it she asks, “Chock-it?” She has learned at a very early age the delight and value of Chocolate.

I had a Christmas Cookie Exchange party last week with some girlfriends and we had a lot of fun. While I was planning the party, Kevin was in the thick of studying for final exams. I felt guilty that the most “important” thing on my mind was a party while he was wrestling with legal theories and something that actually matters.

Then I had an epiphany. What I was doing was very important too!

If we don’t take time in the middle of busy seasons to do things like have parties with friends then our whole lives will pass by without anything special in them. So, after that, I felt validated in my party-planning efforts.

I wish you all a special and wonder-filled Christmas season!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

So far ...

... only one broken oranament (Meredith defied the "one finger" rule and grabbed a little ball) and one other broken Christmas decoration. Hopefully both can be glued and will be good as new.

"Merry Christmas from Meredith!" (She didn't want to wear this hat but we told her she had to before we would give her what she wanted - her pacifier. You can tell that she has a look of resignation in her eyes.)

And here's one I took today - lately Meredith has become really attached to her dress shoes and this white hat. She wants to wear them all the time. I think we're going to have a little dress-up princess on our hands!

Today is Kevin's first final exam. He just left a few minutes ago. I'm amazed at how relaxed he is about these tests. He didn't study at all last night and he hardly studied at all this morning. He has two exams this week, two next week, and the last one on December 19.

Monday, December 04, 2006

First Snow

Our first snow has arrived. It happened last night during the evening service at church. Afterwards I watched the children bounce up and down, grab their coats, and run in circles in the parking lot. Some were jumping high into the air with excitement, yelling, “It’s snowing, it’s snowing.”

I always forget how beautiful falling snow is until I’m suddenly surprised by it.

I hope that, at least on the inside, I’m always like those little kids in the church parking lot, bouncing up and down with excitement at the sight of our first snow.

Snow is not always convenient but it is enchanting. What is convenience worth in light of enchantment? I’ll take the latter.

When we got into the car, strains of “The Snow is Falling” met our ears. We love our new “Santa Baby” Christmas CD!