Saturday, February 21, 2009

Three-Year Old Taxonomist

This afternoon, Brock and Brielle watched Charlotte's Web for the first time. Immediately after it was over, Brielle asked me,

"Mom, are spiders mammals?"

Recalling the recent science lessons she has sat in on with Brock, I explained,

"No, because mammals have hair or fur - remember?"

To which she aptly replied,

"Spiders have fur."

Ewwwwwwwww...........she's right.......unfortunately, some are furry.

Mammals they must be then :o)!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A New Way to Help Orphans: Running Hope

I am sooooo excited about this new opportunity to help orphans, and especially excited how it came at the PERFECT time for our family!

Last Sunday (February 1st), Max and I were out for one of our treasured runs together. We were discussing how we really wanted our kids to get more involved in extracurriculars/serving others and were brainstorming on how that could best be done with the unique talents/interests of our family. My thoughts trailed off, and I began to wonder if there could possibly be a way we could meet this goal through running. Seemed crazy, and I was just about to dismiss it, when Max spoke up and said that running could be a great venue for us to pursue with Brant (who runs with us during the off-season of hockey).

Oh my goodness...all of a sudden I was so excited, and my mind began to fill with ideas. Right away I said, "We could get sponsors and run races for a cause!" Of course the cause that is near and dear to our hearts is adoption, so we began to talk about running for orphans. I began to picture designing matching running shirts and imagined how amazing it would feel to run each mile for those who are fatherless. Truthfully, I didn't know about any organized adoption charities that had running sponsorship programs, but I planned on checking it out online and getting in touch with Steven and Mary Beth Chapman's Shaohannah's Hope to see if we could work out something with them.

A few busy days passed before I could sit down and research "running for orphans", but when I goggled those words, I was elated to find a link to Running Hope, a new branch of ministry for Shaohannah's Hope, just announced at the end of January (and complete with matching running t-shirts)!

If you run or walk, you can now do so on behalf of orphans through an established, amazing ministry! If you are not interested in the physical feat, you are more than welcome to sponser us as we race for orphans :o)!

Here is a description of Running Hope found on SCC's Manager's blog:

A New Way to Help Orphans:
Just announced last week by Shaohannah's Hope and an amazing friend to the Chapmans, Tony Amburgy. A new way to try to keep that New Year's resolution that you might have fallen off on perhaps? Not that I would know about such a thing. Here's an excerpt from the press release.

Show Hope, the ministry of Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman dedicated to helping families overcome financial barriers associated with adoption as well as raise awareness about the worldwide plight of orphans, is honored to announce their partnership with Running Hope. Running Hope is an organization with a mission to utilize running and walking events to generate awareness and resources to support charitable organizations across the nation, working to make a difference for the 133 million orphans around the world.

"While we find our nation in widespread economic unrest, this exclusive strategic partnership gives individuals, both runners and walkers, a chance to do something significant with their time and energy for orphans," explains Scott Hasenbalg, Executive Director of Shaohannah's Hope. "There is something for everyone in this program."

Running Hope is based in Atlanta and was founded by Tony and Marilyn Amburgy who were inspired to run for the world's orphans after attending a Shaohannah's Hope benefit in 2006. New to running at the time, Tony Amburgy learned many people participate in walking and running events to raise financial support and awareness for specific causes and charities. Amburgy began to consider running for a purpose, feeling called to support orphan causes. Partnering with Shaohannah's Hope, Running Hope was born.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

It's the Year of the Ox!

Due to our crazy hockey schedule, we were not able to make any of our area's organized Chinese New Year celebrations. So, we had our own family celebration at home (which is how we usually prefer it anyway).

Last week, the little kids and I decorated our house and did some CNY crafts. Then, on Saturday, I made Asian Orange Chicken, Longevity Noodles, and dumplings for our CNY feast. It didn't taste as good as it sounds, but it was Chinese! We gave the kids their red envelopes and then danced with the little lion dancer marionette we bought in China last summer. Brock Ji Hao and Brielle were thrilled with each and every activity!

Since CNY is China's most important holiday, I was curious to ask Brock Ji Hao how he celebrated CNY in China. He told me that he had seen Lion Dancers on t.v., but they never came to the "hotel" (what he calls the orphanage). He had never received the traditional "red envelopes", but he said a "woman" give one to his "laoshi" (teacher), and that there was money inside. He did describe something that sounded like the Lantern Festival, which concludes CNY. He said the children walked outside in the dark carrying lanterns. He was unaware of the Chinese zodiac, the animals, etc., which I find surprising. He is, however, happy to now know that he was born in the year of the Dragon!

My little Dragon and little Rooster...

A Dragon and two Roosters...

Happy Chinese New Year!!

A Big Texas "Welcome Home"

On Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, we were up in Dallas for (yet another) hockey tournament. Just before driving up there, the location of former President and Laura Bush's new Dallas home had been all over the media, surprisingly right down to the street address. So, out of curiosity and in between games, we punched the address into our GPS and set off to find it!

We were not the only one with that idea. In fact, we read on the internet that this up-until-now quiet neighborhood has recently seen a steady stream of curious spectators. As we approached their neighborhood, several yards were decorated with the "Welcome Home George and Laura" signs. I could only imagine their excitement and relief to finally move on into this new chapter of their lives.

Their neighborhood is, surprisingly, very modest and ungated. Apparently, it is to be gated in the near future; it might already be gated now. I'd assume that they would gate it before the Bush family moved in. We heard that the Secret Service bought the house just next to theirs, at the very end of the cul-de-sac, where they'd have a good view of everyone coming and going down the street. They had cut several branches off the big trees in front of that house, likely for a better view of the Bush's home.

Did anyone watch the Bush's arrival "speech" in Midland, TX, on inauguration day? Well, apparently, we saw the Bush's home even before they did! George said something about buying a nice home in Dallas, and then he laughed and said something like, "I guess it's nice. We haven't seen it yet."

The line of cars going to check out the Bush's Dallas home.
The Secret Service house is straight ahead, at the end of the cul-de-sac.
The Bush's home is to the left of that.

George and Laura's new home...

Welcome Home, George and Laura!

We pray you are blessed and find some much deserved rest in your new home.

Happy 2009!

Making Shish Kabobs to grill for our New Year's Eve dinner....


After dinner, we spent a fun-filled New Year's Eve playing games. Our new family favorite is
Bananagrams --- another one of those they'll-never-suspect-they're-learning games that I love!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Christmas Break '08

2008 was a crazily-busy year for us, and by the time the Christmas season finally rolled around, we were ALL in major need of a break. Max had two weeks off of work and, as always, it was so great having him home all day with us. We spent the time relaxing, playing, and visiting some of the area highlights, including the Riverwalk/Alamo, Six Flags, and the zoo.

Fuzzy pix of the kids at the Alamo...

Another fuzzy at Six Flags...

A beautiful day at the zoo...

As I'm sure you've noticed, I have no gifts in the area of photography (and our ancient camera doesn't help), but Max might have even less photographic talent. He was the Christmas-morning-photographer, and though he snapped about 100 pictures, very few were decent enough to post here.

4 B's on Christmas Morning...

Finding baby Jesus under the tree...

Brock Ji Hao discovering the gifts...

Brielle, soaking up the moment...

One of Brock and Brielle's favorite gifts is the My Little Sandbox...