Thursday, September 18, 2008

Red Letters

If you are looking for a quick, but incredibly powerful read, pick up Red Letters: Living a Faith that Bleeds. It is rare that I pass on a book after I am done, but I have already implored two co-workers to read it. And after you read it, I dare you not to live it.

I love that Tom Davis is able to admit his own human failings in this book. It doesn't feel like he is preaching to me, it feels like he is encouraging me. One of the most powerful parts of our trip to India (other than having my son placed in my arms), was visiting Mother Teresa's home. She never went into the streets of India without something to give to those asking for it. Tom makes the same statement. It is easy to tell people about Jesus. But it is much easier for people to believe in Jesus is you show them. Make their lives better, don't just show up, preach and leave them in the exact same situation as they started.

Tom reminds us that Jesus implores us to care for the widows and orphans, and of course you know that one of these causes is certainly close to our hearts.

Tom certainly practices what he preaches. Have any doubts? Follow his blog at
Also, enjoy this promotional video.

Another bonus of this book is that when you purchase it (available at, barnes and noble and many christian bookstores), you feed an orphan for a month. Read it, love it, live it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Brothers and Sisters

So, I'm back tracking a bit because I wanted to post on this and just plain forgot. In August there is a Hindu holiday known as Raksha Bandhan. In essence, it is a celebration of the bond between sisters and brothers. We have decided to use this day to celebrate as much Indian culture as we can, as well as the bond of siblings. Traditionally, sisters tie a Rakhi, or holy thread, around the wrist of their brother, asking for loyalty and protection. Brothers bestow gifts on their sisters in answer to this request, and they usually feed each other Indian sweets.

This year we made up a big Indian meal, Maddie and I tried our hands at making Kulfi - it came out ok. We played Bengali music, the kiddos wore their outfits we purchased in New Delhi, and rakhi was exchanged. Making it even more special this year was being visited by Dan's brothers and their families. Bonnie, I know you won't believe this, but John even tried some of the Indian food - and LIKED IT!

On a completely different note - today while Madeline was at school, the boys and I went berry picking. Wild blackberries are delicious, and worth the "prickle booboos" as Myles calls them. The boys were extra cute together, and Max sat right down on Myles lap and gave him a cute little kiss while we were getting ready to leave. The two of them are so cute together. It was overcast, way better than direct sun when picking berries, and just as we headed back down the hill from the back field, it started raining. As we got back to the back yard the thunder had started - perfect timing. We got out of our wet clothes and enjoyed a nice snack of blackberries and cream. Reason #5293 I love living in Maine. :)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Broadway Baby

OK, I'm not sure if I can adequately explain how important this event was to me. For those of you who know me, or are forced to work with me, you know that I'm an addict. My vice - the Broadway Musical. I am in love with the New York theater scene. Everything about it. I got to experience it for a while first hand, and if I didn't have a family, I'd probably be there now. I love Times Square (even though Disney is slowly sterilizing it), I love the people swarming after the shows let out, I love the smell of the nut vendors, and I especially love the amazing talent that is displayed there by amazingly energetic people 8 times a week.
So from the moment Maddie was conceived she was immediately exposed to show tunes. Lots of show tunes. They are her playtime, bath time, and bedtime songs. And thank God, she loves them. Her favorite movie - "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," her favorite lullaby - "Quiet Girl," a Bernstein tune used in a bit of a different context in its original form, and her favorite actress, Idina Menzel from Rent and Wicked fame. She says that when she grows up she's going to be on Idina's team. She thinks music is some sort of sport I think. Thank you God for giving me my Broadway Baby.
So I've been waiting until she was old enough to see Wicked. We go to local shows frequently, especially since Dan plays in the pit of many of them. I am quite confident of her theater etiquette now, so we decided to take the plunge. Maddie and I went to Broadway with two other lovely ladies.
I know Lion King is a Disney thing, but until you've seen the musical, you cannot understand how profound this show is. It is a celebration of life, of family bonds, of the African culture. The opening is a spectacular display and as I sat there with my girl I was quite overwhelmed with the emotions of sharing this experience with her. Watching her enjoy something that means so much to me was just amazing. And she was completely enthralled. My favorite part of that first show was having to remind her that she couldn't sing along to "Endless Night."

Wicked was equally wonderful. She wanted to have her picture taken next to a billboard of Idina's costume from Act II, and when I told her with some hesitation that Idina would not be playing Elphaba, she decided that she would pretend it was Idina anyway. She rocks.

I loved being in the city with her, and I loved that when I asked her what her favorite part was she said, "being in New York with you." It melted me to tears.

And in true Maddie form, she caught a turtle at the Central Park Zoo as the other mothers watched in horror and told their children not to touch it. That's my Girl!!

The Barbie Section of Times Square Toys 'R' Us. My own private Hell on Earth

Other highlights:

Madeline Chose Glinda Earrings as her souvenir.

Madeline lost her toy lizards, but at intermission of Wicked told me that she liked it so much she had forgotten about the lizards.

Madeline's meltdown at the very end of the trip, because "everyone in NY gets to eat ice cream out of trucks, and she never does." She's so deprived.

Being there with two great ladies that encouraged Maddie and didn't get frustrated when the Garmin didn't differentiate between one way streets, getting us lost in Queens.

Coming home to my boys.

Kindergarten Already!

Madeline started Kindergarten this year. Our public school has a 4 year old program that she attended last year where the kids ride the bus and everything, so in reality, Madeline was an old pro. Mommy still hasn't gotten used to saying goodbye to my baby for an entire day.

The first day was a bit rocky. On August 22nd our school finally posted the bus routes. We estimated that Madeline would get on the bus around 7:10 or 7:15. So on August 26th we were a bit surprised to see the bus at our driveway at 6:45! Apparently between the 22nd and 26th they had changed the bus routes, but didn't inform the parents. (Shawn, if you're reading this, God bless you for dealing with this stuff. I love you, but it was very frustrating). So Madeline is the first one on in the morning, and the driver said she'd be the first one off in the afternoon. They get out of school at 2pm and we live less than 2 miles away.

Maddie got on the bus, and I left for jury duty. Didn't get pics since the bus was so early, and cried because I didn't think I'd be there to greet her after her first day. But, hooray, the guy pled guilty and we were dismissed without stepping foot into the court room. I made it home before lunch.

I was out waiting for the bus at 2pm. I was still waiting at 2:30, 2:45, and 3:00. FINALLY, at 3:10, Maddie got off of the bus. One hour and 10 minutes after school was dismissed, and remember, she's the first one off. This means that Madeline was away for 8.5 hours - more than the average adult work day. I was not pleased. The second day was slightly better - she got off at 2:55pm. I'm not sure what happens between 2 and 2:55.

Here's the deal with transportation this year - and Moms not in our district, I would love to hear your thoughts on it. I have not raised a fuss, YET, because I'm giving it a chance, but I am very uncomfortable with it. . . .All of the kids ride the same bus. So my 5 year old is riding the same bus as the 18 year olds. When they did this 2 years ago they had ed techs ride the buses as monitors. I didn't get to go to the orientation meeting (jury duty), but according to Dan the parents were informed that the district trusts the high school students and that there would be students monitoring the buses. As of that date they didn't know exactly how that would work or who the kids were that would be trusted with the safety of my child, but that was there plan. I still haven't heard who the kids are or how it is working, how they are chosen etc. It concerns me. I try to keep in mind that I see a lot of horrible things at work and that this makes me more paranoid about this sort of situation, but I just plain don't like it. And the plan is terrible. What I really want is a list of criteria the high school kids have to meet, and a list of names of the high school kids that will be monitoring my daughter.

For now, I'm bringing her to school and picking her up when I'm home, and she will ride the bus only on days that I work.

She loves school, loves her teacher, and loves being back with her friends. She is a wreck when she gets home from being so very tired, and I can't bring myself to put her to bed earlier than 7:30pm. I'm hoping she'll adjust to the long days and I'll eventually have my happy, chatty little girl back. I'm hoping this happens very soon. And I wish that I had pics of her first day. But I'm so proud of her and love that she loves school.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Visiting Mimi

Meagan's Baby meets Jaime's baby

In July we ventured down to Virginia to see my sister. My mother, sister, FIVE CHILDREN from age 5 down to 3 weeks old, and I piled into my van and made the trek. The kiddos did really well for the most part. We seemed to hit every bit of traffic possible on the way down and ended up stopping at a hotel to sleep. This was a mistake. The kids had been cooped up way too long and it was like unleashing caged animals. No one slept well (except Madeline who didn't move all night). The next day was ok, except for the las two hours which were pure hell. The kids were just plain done. Max Rup just wanted to be held and didn't understand why that couldn't happen. We learned from the trip down, and on the way back the adults skipped sleep to drive through the night. That way the kiddos slept for most of the way.

It was worth it. The kids missed their Aunt Mimi sooo much. It was great to see where she lived - it's gorgeous. The kids loved the pool, and just being there with Mimi (and Hobbes). I especially loved how excited Max was to see Mimi. I think Jaime was relieved that he definitely has bonded with her. At night when we're rocking, Max checks on the status of all of his people. "Daddy?" "Yes, Daddy is on the couch." "Maddie, Mys (Myles)?" "yes, Maddie and Myles are in bed." And the last one is always "Mimi, Hobby?" or "MooMoo, Baby?" It's very cute.

We also went to the children's museum. The kids loved the dress up part, and the bees. And Mimi became a hero when she walked all the way back to the restaurant to save Max's Blankie. Just another reason why Mimi is so special to us. We didn't get to see that much of Tom (Dr. Popsicle to the kids), but we understand. ER docs are pretty busy. We hope that when he gets some time off we can spend some time with him.