Archive - May 2008

Short Break
We Remember…
Oh joy
Baby Hat
This is Huge!
Just Bip and Me
The Loveliness of Rosaries
Chicken or Pork Adobo

Short Break

I’ve got a bad cold that’s sapping all my energy, so I’m taking a blogging break for the next couple of days.  I’ll be back in a bit.


And with the yarn came power. She sat down and did knit with the yarn and with needles. The needles were double pointed and they were in number, 4. She knit with the yarn and with the needle and when her time of knitting was brought to an end, she brought forth her first hand knit sock. And it was good.

We Remember…

On this Memorial Day, I am re-posting this piece I wrote about Colonel Brian Allgood, who was killed in Iraq. It was originally posted January 25, 2007.

riderless-horse.jpgWe have been blessedly untouched by the fatalities from the war in Iraq. Yesterday, we found out that someone we knew had been killed in the Blackhawk crash on January 20th. He wasn’t really a friend, not even an acquaintance. Not a co-worker or a neighbor. He was the commander of the hospital in Yongsan, South Korea when our Rebecca died.

While the rest of the hospital gave us the run around, passed the buck and otherwise treated us quite poorly, COL Brian Allgood did the opposite. He invited us to sit down and talk with him personally about all that had happened. He made sure we were kept informed throughout the investigation. He told us to call him if we needed anything. In many ways, he was just doing his job, but in those darkest weeks of our lives, he showed us a compassion that was lacking in the lower levels of the hospital administration. A few months later, when a good friend’s daughter needed emergency surgery and blood transfusions to save her life, COL Allgood was again the voice of calm and comfort. He went out of his way to make sure that things were handled correctly.

Our remaining time in Korea without Becca was a series of struggles with the hospital. We did have to call COL Allgood for help and he immediately fixed the situation. I cannot begin to tell you what that meant to us.  This is not the time to drag up painful memories of broken system.  It is a time to remember the good that one man did and to honor his memory.  Sadly, I don’t know much about him, other that he leaves a wife and a young son. If we had ever seen him again, I knew I wanted to thank him for all that he had done for us in Korea.  I’m sorry I will never have that chance.

Oh joy

Look what we got yesterday.

It goes along with these:

Oh yes, it’s time for the joys of warmer weather – bug bites, skinned knees, 90% humidity and potty training. Try to contain yourself.

It occurred to me at the beginning of the month that we are going to Disneyworld in 6 months. Six short months and wouldn’t it be nice to have no one in diapers! Of course, that means more frequent potty stops and the potential for embarrassing accidents, but I’ll risk it.

Boo wasn’t too hard to potty train. It was also Spring and Summer time and he likes to please. We did get off to a rough start, though. Maybe it was my inexperience as a first time potty trainer. Or it could have been that Boo doesn’t like to do anything unless he knows he’ll succeed, so he was slow to warm to the potty. Plus, our downstairs bathroom was a bit far for a toddler to reach in a hurry. So we set up shop right in the living room. With a little Playhut pop up “room” and a potty chair, it was like having an outhouse in the house. We didn’t have many people over. Boo spent the summer without pants and he figured it out soon enough. We didn’t stress too much and by the time he turned 3 in early Fall, he was done.

Pumpkin Girl was a lot easier, of course. Like the typical little sister, she both admires her big brother and is determined to out do him. She told us she wanted to wear underwear like Boo and we told her she could if she learned to use the potty. A week later she was dry all day and sporting Hello Kitty underwear. She was 2 years and 4 months old.

She reads above grade level, too, the little over achiever.

As for Bip, that remains to be seen. He really, really, really likes his new underwear. His best friend is in underwear almost all day. Our bathroom is very close. However, he is extremely silly and very independent, which could take him far – but in which direction?

So we’ve got all the equipment in place, including a spray bottle of Mrs. Meyers and a cleaning rag for the inevitable accidents (like the one that happened while I was typing), and now we wait and encourage and smile and clean.

Wish us luck!

Baby Hat

I took a break from knitting to finish up a crocheted baby hat.  This is for the same friend that I made the duck bootees for.  Here it is, being modeled by Pumpkin the Doll who is about the size of a 8 or 9 month old baby.

Pumpkin wasn’t cooperating and wouldn’t lean forward so you can get the whole affect.  It’s an aviator cap with a bill that is flipped up and tacked into place.  Oh wait, here’s the book the pattern is in.  Now you can see it better.

That baby on the cover totally sold the book for me!  I made the same hat for Bip a couple of years ago.  It’s a really fast and easy project, took me two nights to finish it, not including the time waiting for a second ball of yarn to arrive in the mail.  I started the second hat with leftovers from the first hat and ran out halfway through.   I just found out that one of my cousin’s is going to have a baby boy, so I think another one of these hats in order.

This is Huge!

The Boy got an A on his Math-U-See final exam.  Yep, this boy.  The one who can’t do math to save his life.  Got an A.  93% correct.  My Boy.  An A.

I pointed out the questions he got wrong and he was able to explain how to do them correctly.  I showed him all the ones he got right and he beamed.

This is huge.  Boo’s brain is to math like water is to oil. (har har, language arts, science and math example all rolled into one!)  There’s more to it than that, more than I’m ready to talk about right now.  Just suffice it to say that Boo getting an A in math, especially on a final exam that covers material from the whole year, is something I wasn’t sure he’d ever do.

He was so happy that he gave me a big, long hug.  I had to pry him off me to breathe.  Then he gave me another hug.

My Boy.  An A in Math.


Yesterday morning Bip was up at 7:15. He got himself out of bed and disappeared. I had a momentary thought that maybe I should get up, too, but I got over it. Thirty minutes later, though, I decided to get up and see what mischief he had gotten himself into. I checked the upstairs rooms and didn’t find him, so I called for him from the top of the stairs.

“Me-a down downstairs!” he called. That’s “down-downstairs” as opposed to “up-downstairs.”

I walked down to the landing and saw him sitting on the bottom step. “Come upstairs and we’ll get you changed so you can have breakfast.”

“NO! Me-a waiting Boo, Pumpkin!”

Apparently I told him that Daddy, Boo and Pumpkin Girl would be coming home from camping in the morning. So upon waking, he went down to wait patiently for their return. He needed quite a bit of convincing to come upstairs and get dressed, with the promise that he wouldn’t miss the arrival of his beloved family.

In French, the literal translation of “to miss” means “to lack.” To lack means to need something that is absent. I guess Bip was very much lacking his brother and sister. Il les manque.

Just Bip and Me

Despite the nice weather, the neighborhood was quiet today.  Most of the boys were off at the end of the year Cub Scout campout, along with their siblings and at least one of their parents.  The ones  left were the toddlers and their moms.  It was an interesting day for me, nowhere to be, nothing pressing to do, no one knocking on the door, no one running in and out of the house.

Philip woke up way too early for a Saturday. He wanted to get out of the house in time to set up camp before the activities started.  He woke Bip up, too which resulted in my early start.  It turned out nicely, though.  Philip, Boo and Pumpkin Girl were on the road by 7:45 and Bip and I settled down for a day all by ourselves.

I don’t often get a chance to spend time with just one of my children alone.  They come as a set, especially the older two.  When Boo was my only child, he and I did a few Mommy and Me type things that were fun.  Pumpkin Girl and I didn’t do any of those activities, but she and I are kindred spirits, so we find time to spend with each other easily.  Bip just tags happily along with what ever is going on.

Today he had me all to himself.  He played happily while I tackled mounds of laundry and various and sundry other tasks I’d been putting off.  After my morning vanilla chai while reading my favorite forums and blogs, the two of us headed out to the BX.  With nothing else to do today, I could take the time to let him buckle his own car seat.  “Me do it!,” he proudly says. Bip is such a joy to shop with.  He chatters along about the things he sees in the most amusing toddler way.  It’s fun to squeeze his fat little legs  as he sits in the shopping cart and to hold his hand in the parking lot.  I like to pretend to leave him in the car when we get home and he laughs with delight when I “remember” him.

Back at home, we watched lots of Thomas videos and when he told me it was my turn to pick a movie, I took him up on his offer and grabbed one of my favorite chick flicks.  I settled down with a crochet project and he constructed ancient ruins with his blocks and drove his cars all around them.

Later he and I went to church together then watched “Toy Story” while eating dinner.

It was a simple day.  A quiet day.  A Bip and Mama just doing nothing sort of day.

When I kissed him goodnight, I told him that I enjoyed our day together and that he was a good boy.  He told me, “yeah, you fun!”

Yeah, you fun, too, Bip.

The Loveliness of Rosaries

Our family enjoys praying the Rosary, especially during hard times. During Philip’s recent trip the Afghanistan, at the request of the children, we prayed the Rosary frequently. It’s comforting to take the time at the end of a busy day and pray and think about the lives of Mary and Jesus.

Praying the rosary requires the children to be quiet and still for at least 20 minutes. We’re lucky because our children do enjoy the rosary, but I think that comes in part from including them with their own special rosaries and having them actively participate. We try to make it a special time to be looked forward to, not something done out of obligation.

We know the basics of praying the rosary, but we don’t alway remember all the Mysteries, and we frequently confuse the Apostle’s Creed with the Nicene Creed. Nobody but me knows the Hail Holy Queen. To help us, we use the book “The Holy Rosary.” It’s written for children, so it’s very easy to understand. Each mystery has a brief (one paragraph) reading to help us to follow the example of Mary in relationship with her life with Jesus. Boo likes to announce each mystery and Pumpkin Girl likes to do the reading aloud.

We have quite the family collection of Rosaries. This one is mine, it was a gift from Philip and it has its own box. Both my Rosary and its box are from the Vatican Library Collection.

Philip’s rosary was a gift from me and I made it! He also has a Ranger Rosary, which like Michelle’s husband, he often keeps in the pocket of his ACU’s. He tells me that he always has one in his bag, too. I made his Ranger Rosary, too.

Boo’s Rosary was a First Communion present and…you’ve guessed it, was made by me! It has his initials and the date of his First Communion engraved on the crucifix.

Pumpkin’s Rosary was a gift from my parents and they bought it at the Vatican. Our family has a special connection to rainbows and when my parents found this rosary with beads in the colors of the rainbow, they knew that it should go to Pumpkin.

Even Bip has his own rosary. Yep, I made this one, too. Wooden beads strung on the same parachute chord that the Ranger Rosary is made from make this one practically indestructible. Bip likes to have his own rosary while we pray. It helps him feel like part of the team, as Philip would say. To help keep him busy and relatively quiet, he also has a small collection of laminated holy cards. He likes to look through them and sort them.

The meditative prayer that is the rosary is restorative and calming. However, I’ll be honest-it’s easy, at least for me, to let my mind wander. To help me focus when I’m praying the rosary alone, I like to listen to Praying the Rosary with St. Therese de Lisieux.

We’ve all heard the expression “The family that prays together stays together.” I’ve also heard of several families that say that their days go better when they are praying the rosary regularly. No doubt about it, there is nothing more lovely than the rosary.

Chicken or Pork Adobo

Another quick and easy recipe (it’s all I ever make) that can be doubled without a lot of math. Adobo is traditional Filipino dish, though I’m not sure if this is my family’s recipe or not.  You can make it with either chicken or pork.

Chicken or Pork Adobo

2 lbs chicken or pork, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 Tablespoon peppercorns
1 bay leaf

At all ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, 45 minutes.

See, I told you it was easy!

Mix 2 Tablespoons cornstarch with small amount of water and add to sauce to thicken. Serve over hot rice.

I usually fish out the garlic cloves and bay leaf before serving. You’ll probably want to pick out the peppercorns while you’re eating. It’s ok to eat them if you like, but they are pepper after all. My children call them “hotcorns”.

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