Favorite Quotes

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  • "I'm so busy.... I don't know if I found a rope... or lost my donkey! - Unknown"
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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Make Up

The first year the girls took dance lessons, Carlie was too young to join a class. She was only 2 years old. So Madi and Libby got to dance. The two older girls had a recital at the end of the year. This was complete with costumes, dress rehersals, etc.

Well I had to have them in Wichita (30 minutes away) dressed and ready for their dress rehearsal early on the day of the recital. So we are rushing around trying to get costumes on, find all of their shoes, fix their hair and get their make up on. I left Carlie with Bob while I took the big girls to rehearsal.

In my haste to get out the door and get them to their dress rehearsal on time, I made a critical mistake. I left the make up bag sitting out!!!! Apparently Carlie had been watching all the hustle and bustle with a tad bit of jealously. So once I was out the door, she helped herself to the make up bag.

I got back from the dress rehearsal to find my two year old sitting in time out and looking like THIS.

Not sure if she was going for the Tonto look or Phantom of the Opera!!! Yeah, thanks Bob for keeping a good eye on her while I was gone!!

You know something bad is about to happen when you walk in the door and the first thing your husband says is "Go on. Show your Mother what you've done!!!" LOL.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Emotional Attachments

We are dog sitting my parents' dog, Cooper, while they are in China. Since he's been with us, he's stuck to me like glue. I was sitting outside the other day and he was pressed up against me. Carlie came by and said "You know that dog just doesn't have an emotional attachment to me. He growls at me, but he likes you and Madi." LOL

Friday, March 27, 2009

International Business Woman

When my parents go to China they come back with all kinds of movies, games and electronic gadgets. Most of them are knock-offs and all of them are very cheap.

Libby wanted to start playing the flute again, so I spent $300 this December having my old flute re-conditioned for her. So I got to thinking that if my parents could get all that other stuff in China and such a good price, they ought to be able to get me a flute or piccolo or two while they are there.

I started hunting on the internet and wheeling n dealing with Instrument makers in China. Normally they do wholesale business, but a few of them were willing to ship me 1-2 instruments. So I have two different companies shipping flutes to my parents' hotel in Shanghai. A total of three flutes and two piccolos. I hope they are of decent quality. My parents don't play so, I won't know until they get home with them. But I got them for 20% of the cost that I would have paid in the States.

I'm 37 years old, and today was a first for me. I wired money internationally to China to pay for one set of my purchases!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What Are YOU Giving Up for Lent?

We were not raised Catholic, but my sister converted when she married her husband. And they are raising their children as Catholics. My nephew, Parker, is six years old. He informed his mother at the dinner table the other day that he's giving up STEALING for Lent. Hehehe. I hope he doesn't share that with the Priest.

Pictured is Parker's lil sister, Morgan

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

No, Thanks. Frank Already Took Care Of It.

We have two dogs and two cats in the house. I don't have any animals that could rip a child's face off or anything. So I usually tell the kids that if one of them nips or scratches you, then you were probably mistreating the animal. So very little sympathy.

A few days ago, Carlie came in crying hysterically. I asked her what was wrong, and she explained that Hunter (our youngest cat) had bit her on the cheek. I gave her my little speech about letting animals down when they wanted down. But Bob comes over and in a melodramatic/silly voice says "Carlie, do you want me to go KICK that old cat for you??"

In a weepy, tiny, sincere little voice Carlie says "No Thanks. Frank already took care of that for me."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Poor Puker

Madi was throwing up last night. Lena stayed home with her today. I don’t know how one little kid managed to throw up SO MUCH. She puked all over her top bunk…all over every single blanket and stuffed toy up there. And it ran down from the top bunk on to the bottom bunk. Then for good measure, she puked once more over the side of the bed on to the treasured Hannah Montana bean bag on the floor. So I’m emptying the beads out of it at 10pm at night so that I can wash the cover.

She didn’t throw up any more, but she said this morning that her stomach was still hurting, so Lena stayed with her.

The strangest thing also happened when she threw up. She first went into the living room where Bob was. And I swore I heard her say "Daddy, I threw up. I need help!!!" But all Bob heard her say was "Mommmmmm!!!" Funny how that works!!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Parents are in China - Part III

We are staying on the 18th floor in our very nice hotel. I have a wonderful view of the city and I love to sit in my chair by the windows and watch the happenings below. Only a few blocks from this area you can find people scouring for cardboard to built their houses. Over here there are large tarps called red, white and blues (yes they are red, white and blue). They can buy these very cheap and they use them for tents. You can also buy a large bag made of this same stuff for about a dollar and people use these everywhere to carry their things.

Directly across from our window we watch a family. Part of their house opens up to the roof. There is an old man in a wheelchair and his wife who looks after him. When the weather is warm she will bring him outside to the edge of the brick retaining wall and he will sit for a long time watching the people below him. Sometimes at this same house a young boy about ten comes out with a jump rope and entertains him with that.

The children here have practically no grass at all to play on. Most of the play areas are on top of the buildings that they live in. Sometimes you will even see a swing set on these roofs. Chinese still typically obey the one child rule. The poor families travel on bicycles. The dad will be peddling the bike, mom will ride on back and the child will sit on a basket on the front of the bike. At least they don't have to worry about them being strapped into a child safety seat with a seat belt. The bicycles are relics that you would find in a salvage yard at home. They also walk everywhere. The streets are always full of people.

There is no such thing as a single family dwelling in China. All of the buildings have several floors and many many people living in them. The normal family home might have a washer but no dryers. The washers are often outside because it doesn't get cold enough here in the winter to freeze the pipes. They hang out their clothing to dry on long poles hung out the window. It amazes me that they never lose anything off these poles. You will see bedspreads, sheets, rugs, and underwear hanging all over the city. The women here will beat their clothes with a stick to loosen the dust and dirt. There are many who still hand wash all of their clothing with just a bucket and soap.

David will travel to the factory tomorrow to teach the people there how to better use the machinery they have. Hopefully I will get out and take some pictures. Until later.....Brenda

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Carlie's First Basketball Game

This was the first year that they have allowed Kindergarteners to play. At first, I wasn't even going to let Carlie play. She tends to be more intellectual than athletic. In fact, right before basketball season started, I had gotten a note from her PE teacher because she was laying down in PE and refusing to run laps with the other kids.

But she SAW and read the flyer and came running to me waving it. I tried to talk her out of it, but she insisted that she wanted to play. I go "You DO know that there is RUNNING involved in Basketball, right?" But she told me "Tough girls play basketball, and I want to play!!!" So we signed her up.

Because none of the knew how to play, the league decided that the Kindergarteners would only play the last three games of the season. Carlie just could NOT understand why our other three kids got to play games every Saturday, but she didn't.

When we finally got to her first game it was well worth the wait. It was a actually a scrimmage. So she was playing against her other teammates. Carlie was one of the most aggressive kids out there. She was tackling other kids and jerking the ball away from them!! Her boyfriend, the one she's going to marry (pictured above) was on the other team. He had the ball and was running down the sidelines with it (out of bounds) and Carlie was hot on his heels screaming like a banshee. She was yelling "Kory!!! KORY!!! Come back here KORY!!!" Granny asked her afterwards why she was yelling at him like that and Carlie said "Well, I wanted him to give me the ball!!!!" We laughed and laughed and she had so much fun!!! She won all three of her games, the only one of our kids with an undefeated season!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

My Parents Are In China - Part II

Yesterday I got out and did some shopping. I found a grocery store and boy was it different from ours. There was raw fish piled up and eggs do not come in a carton here. I thought that was how hens laid them. The eggs were stacked up in a box. We still have a hard time finding Diet Pepsi. Here it is called Pepsi Light. You can not tell by reading the package what you are buying unless you recogonize the same wrapping we have at home. You can find most any American products you want.

I noticed when I was out shopping that most of the Chinese people wear black all the time. They wear the same clothes for about three days. This is maybe why they always wear the black. I will try to send some pictures tomorrow. My card reader for my camera is not working so I need to buy another one. Anytime you are out on the street you are followed by a group of men who are saying in broken English, Lookie, lookie, wanna buy a watch? They they try to sell you an assortment of knock off Rolex watches. LOL

Later in the afternoon David called me and told me that the company was sending a driver to pick me up and we would be eating out near the plant. I did have to good sense to ask him what the car looked like. When I went down to the lobby there were TWO black Audi's exactly alike parked there. When I tried to ask the driver if I was supposed to go with him all he could reply in English was Debbie? I told him my name was Brenda but he did not understand any English. After much deliberation on my part and the drivers part and me saying every Chinese word I know, I uttered the word Evermark which is the name of their company and he shook his head and repeated the word again as if he understood. As soon as the car took off I felt like I had made a big mistake. So I called my husband and told him I would do some serious harm to his body if I was in the wrong car. Fortunatly I was in the right one.

When we finally reached the plant, JoAnna wanted to take us to eat where we could eat Chinese country food. We drove and drove forever it seemed. Finally we did pull into a nice placed that looked a lot like a greenhouse. Here they grew all the food we had in our meal. We had pumpkin, sauted minnows with some other junk in it, shrimp, various green vegetables that Keith called grass. One of the main dishes was boiled wild chicken (maybe like our prarie hen). As they were stirring this around I realized it had feet and all. After we had finished our meal and sat around the table visiting, one of the ladies asked for the leftovers and fished out both feet and the tips of the wings. She then sucked all the meat off those pieces. I really had to turn my head not to gag. We tried some corn juice which was just like it sounds. We did have fresh cucumbers which tasted so good and always at each meal we have fresh watermelon. I think if I had not had bottled water to wash it down I would have been a goner!

I will be using this email address while I am here. My other one is messed up. Until later..... Brenda

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Parents are in Shanghai - Part I

I'm going to share emails and posts about my parents' current trip to Shanghai. My Mom is good at writing funny stories too.

Hello from China

We arrived in Shanghai about noon today. It was probably in the fifties but most of the flowers are already blooming here and the grass is turning green. We are staying in the Shanghai JC Mandarin Hotel. It is a pretty fancy hotel but across the street from here you can see people living in shanties. It is so hard to beleive how much the old can be side by side with the new. There are three malls near us but they all contain Gucci, Coach, and all the rich stores. Where are the Walmarts? We had a good Chinese dinner tonight that included fresh fish (they actually brought the live fish out for our approval before they cooked it), pork, chicken including the head, rice and some veggies I had not seen before. Actually most of it was very good. LOL Keith bought us both new world cell phones so we can call each other during the day. We will be here for two weeks.

Keith also told us today that he wants to fly us to Hong Kong for the next weekend. We have never been there so that will be a new experience. Hopefully I can get out and take some pictures. Until later.... Brenda

My "Baby" is now 6. How Did That Happen??

Her birthday was on the 14th. I know it sounds so cliche, but the time is flying by so fast. She's a little girl, not a baby any more. So far she's had two birthday parties and one more to go. She had one with Granny and Pawpaw before they left for China. And she had a second one on her actual birthday with Memaw and Pepaw. When school starts back up well have another one for her friends.

She's such a character and has so much personality. Her kindergarten teacher was telling me at conferences about Carlie not getting her way and the slouch that she does. She rolles her shoulders forwards, ducks her head and slinks off. The teacher said she has a hard time not laughing at her every time she does it.

She reads on a solid third grade level. The teach said she is social at school and likes to talk and help the other kids. She probably loses a star a couple of times a week for talking, and the teacher said she's super competitive (surprise, surprise...wonder where she gets that from!!)

Here is probably my all time favorite Carlie picture.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Long Time, No Post

I'm so sorry about the lack of updates. Feb was an extremely hectic month for me. For one thing, my kids were finished up their basketball season, and Bob was still coach his High School Basketball girls. So we were running to games and practices all the time. And then on the work front, I've been working 60 hours weeks trying to get a software package ready to be tested by our Field Users.

So for the whole month I would go to work during the day, from 5:30-8:30 fix dinner, do homework, give bathes and run kids to practices, and then from 8:30 - 11:00pm log back in from home and work some more.

But I have alot to share with you. So be prepared for a string of posts!!! I've missed writing to you.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Today is Frank and Libby's Adoption Day

I sent this email out to my whole email book the day we adopted Frank and Libby.

Subject: Announcing the adoption of Frank and Libby Pool

Today on March 2, 2004, we became the proud forever parents of two beautiful children. I'd like to introduce Frank and Libby POOL!!! Its been nearly three years since a tiny brother and sister came to live with us. Once we even tearfully had them packed up to return to their birth father, and it fell through at the last minute. We are so proud to claim them as our own.

They would not be here with us now without the decidation and hard work of many friends, family and professionals who truly did what was in the bests interests of these children. For all of you who cared about our children and went out of your way to help them. Thank you!!!

This story has a happy ending!!!

The Pools,
Bob, Julie, Frank, Libby, Madi and Carlie.

And here are some responses:

From Frank and Libby's Attorny

YEAH!!!!! I am so happy y’all are now a real forever family. We fought the good fight and we won. Frank, Libby and Lois won that is for sure. I have represented thousands of kids throughout the years and each and every one of them are deserving of a great family like the ones these three little ones got. Unfortunately not all of them are able to get to the other side of the Rainbow like these kids did. You probably know Lois’s big day was 1-9-04. I wish you all the best. I always new there was something great on the other side of that rainbow!!!

I am reminded of the Starfish Project

A person walking along a beach is tossing starfish back into the ocean. “Do you really think that will matter?”, he is asked. “There are millions of starfish on the beach.” He answers, “It matters to this one.”

Thanks for letting me know about adoption and for letting me be a small part of your journey!!!

Julie McMahon

From Frank and Libby's Social Worker in Pawnee County

Those pictures are beautiful and what a beautiful family you have. I am so glad everything is over and done with for all of you and now you can really begin your life as a family. I am so proud to have been a small part in watching your family grow. I wish each and every one of you the best. May God bless your family always.

Let me know if you ever need anything,

Heidi Alley

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