Sunday, November 28, 2004

All Aboard

Yesterday we saw “The Polar Express”.

If you’re debating between taking your kids to see “The Polar Express” or “The Incredibles”, choose the former. Absolutely. People have said that they’ve found the train ride too intense, but my kids are all for adventure. I will take a roller coaster train ride over characters shooting at each other or menacing adults threatening children. Polar made me laugh and cry, but wasn’t overly sentimental. There’s singing and dancing, without being a musical. All in all a really good movie and at just over 1 ½ hours it wasn’t too long.
We’ve also made a decision about going to Vietnam. With the new guidelines for entering the Senior Foreign Service, Ian needs to have a major region (three tours) and a minor region (two tours), along with two languages and a plethora of other requirements (hard to fill position. There’s a good chance we’ll return to Asia at some point to fulfill some of these requirements and we would rather have my dad with us when we do go to Vietnam. After Christmas my dad already has travel plans, so he wouldn’t be able to meet us there. I think we’ll get more from the visit if we’re able to see some of it through his eyes. So with that, Vietnam will wait for us. I look forward to it.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Not the turkey type, the passing comments that make you go "huh?".

On Thursday I was in Katherine's class with a couple other moms for two hours, playing games, showing slides, eating (of course) and doing crafts. The craft I brought in was a Thankful Tree. Baseically a bare tree on cardstock and the kids traced their hands, wrote all the things they were thankful for on them and then I attached them on to the tree as the leaves. No, I forgot to take a picture of it so you can't see it!
When I was explaining the craft to the group, I asked them to think of things they were thankful for, so that everyone would have the basic idea. One girl right away said she was thankful for her birth mom letting her be adopted. OK, if that doesn't bring a tear to your eye, I don't know what would. Then a boy said he was thankful for his two families. I gave him a quizzical look and he said he was adopted too. This really took me aback, because he was in Katherine's class last year and the summer before was the whole birthday invitation weirdness. This was Wendell Macapagal.
I told him that I never knew he was adopted and that it was a wonderful thing to be thankful for both your families.
He followed with "Did you know Monday is a holiday? It's supposed to be Tuesday but my aunt changed it. My aunt is the President, you know."
Yes, I did know, and I still had to fight to not laugh out loud. What he said wasn't that funny and I wasn't ridiculing it at all, but just the way the thoughts rolled off his tongue... I thought it was kinda charming! I have to say that Wendell is a really nice kid, always has been and I didn't find his comments irritating like I might have from a different child.
OK, then today the AmeriKids had their celebration which they shared with twenty kids from an orphanage. They went to the playground, blew bubbles, shared in a turkey feast and gave out gifts along with stacks of donated items for the orphanage. On the way to join the kids, I was in the car listening to the radio. There's always something interesting that makes me laugh or go "huh?" and today was no exception.
First item: Apparently someone in Vancouver, CA decided today should be a day of simplicty and they encouraged folks to stay out of the stores and avoid consumerism. Any red-blooded American knows what today is... Black Friday. Of course, in the Philippines (and Canada too), the "day after Thanksgiving mob at the mall" means nothing. I just had to chuckle.
Second item: Today in Charlottesville, VA is "Cut Your Christmas Tree Day". The DJ said "They must have a lot of pine trees. Reminds me of Baguio". Anyone who makes that sort of comparison needs a vacation to our pine tree forests. I wonder if they'd think it reminded them of Baguio then. Again, I had to chuckle.
As for us, the turkey is just about gone, I went through the gifts we've bought for the kids, I wrote our Christmas letter and we're making our plans for Bohol. Our last holiday season in the Philippines? Where has the time gone?

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Giving Thanks

A wonderful thankgiving to all our family and friends. I hope your day is filled with love and friendship. We are all truly blessed.

Last year we spent the Thanksgiving holiday with just our little family. The kids didn't get the day off (it's an International School after all, can't give off everyone's holidays, though a bunch of second grade parents did put together a Thanksgiving Day celebration, so that was fun) so I'd made a small chicken and some sides, and we had a basic dinner at home. I guess it was better than going out, but not much. Ask Ian and he'll say it was pretty sad.
Fast forward to this year. Nine kids and fifteen adults gathered poolside at Seafront to celebrate the companionship of each other, along with plenty of turkey and sides and desserts. My worries over a turkey that simply wouldn't register 180 on the meat thermometer were unfounded. Both Laura's turkey and mine were yummy and so far no one has come down with salmonella poisoning. I should probably look up what the time table for that to develop is, shouldn't I?
The kids played, ate and swam. The adults ate, chatted and doled out food. We all smacked at mosquitoes and tried not to step on the stray cat circling our food tables. Lisa and Matt took turns watching the kids, which I am grateful for because I didn't get my lazy butt up and over to the pool to do it. Catherine and Laura brought Liesl and Audrey, so I got some nice baby time. Stephenie lent us tables even though she's at Club Noah right now. Chris brought drinks, everyone pitched in with too much food (as is expected for Thanksgiving) and even better, some new arrivals joined us at our impromptu table. One couple is on their second tour, after a stint in Benin. They arrived on Tuesday and are still on the time difference roller-coaster, so I was double impressed that at 6p.m. they were relatively functional.
For today, those of us away from family with no traveling plans, spent time together. In logistics it wasn't much different than many other potluck get-togethers, but with such a family oriented holiday it was important that we share it even as casual as shorts and San Mig. We even neglected (not on purpose) a prayer of thanks before eating.
But I don't think it was any secret that we were indeed thankful. For each other and for our families back home.
Just for today, we were each other's Manila family.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

T minus Turkey and Counting

Our Thanksgiving plans seem to be materializing on their own.

Aside from ARC refusing to let us use the empty indoor air conditioned rooms on Thursday (unless we purchase $250 worth of turkey from the Grill), everything is falling into place. We have been allowed to fight the mosquitoes on the patio between the building and the pool and bring all the food we want. The bonus is that now we have nothing to stop the kids from spending their time in the pool until the food is prepared. That wouldn’t be possible if we had to mess with those silly air conditioning and carpeting things, right?
I’ve already bought a turkey (Laura is doing the other one) and it’s thawing happily in the fridge, though I’m having huge worries about cooking it right. I’m a terrible cook (have I mentioned that before?) and aside from a handful of foods I make regularly it’s rare that a dish I haven’t practiced on extensively actually turns out. I’ve also made squash soup and craisin oatmeal cookies, but those are tough to mess up. Now all I need to do is get through the bazaar tomorrow where I’ll be picking up the last few things for Christmas and then the Thanksgiving program in Katherine’s class on Thursday morning.
Thanksgiving will be held from 3-7p.m. to accommodate the kids who still have school that day, including our girls. Originally we started with potentially fifteen people, but that number has swelled to nearly thirty. Thirty of us away from family for the holiday will gather together and be family to each other for the evening.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Proper Channels

I thought I was doing a good thing, but this just goes to show how out of the loop I really am. Why didn’t I remember that to do anything within any organization requires paper and signatures and a whole lot more clout than I have?

So I’ve been working in the ARC library for a few months now. Laura has done some, Carol W. has done some. The library moved across the hall to a smaller room, leaving several boxes of books in storage and too many outdated and useless books on the shelves. There’s a good number of Filipiniana and historically useful books on planes and seashells and all that good stuff.
But this is a community library, at least that’s how I perceive it. It’s not a research library, so books that haven’t been taken out in years I’ve been pulling off and putting them into the store room, while filtering out duplicates of current authors and thinning out the ranks of the romances and true murder tales.
My work is done. There are two small piles that need to be shelved, but I’ve done the majority to get the library functional again. Theoretically I should be able to go in a couple times a week to reshelve returned books and if I feel like it, organize the kids’ books better. But the point is, all the boxes have been sifted through and what I subjectively deemed of interest to the American public is readily available.
So what about the rest? The stacks in storage? Well, my thought was to sell them at a book sale. This weekend was the ARC Christmas Bazaar and it sounded like a good idea to do it at the same time since folks would be at Seafront anyway. I brought up the idea to the ARC office, they said OK and wouldn’t you know 30 minutes later Virginia Forster (later discovered to be the Embassy curator) showed up to ask what I was doing.
Arise the subject of “value”.
Yes, many of the Filipiniana books as single run publications have a monetary value to them. But more importantly in my opinion is their use value. Currently in the ARC library, they are not cared for but more than that, they aren’t used. And any value that they might have has seriously been depreciated by the stained and mildewed state of these rare books. She said that she didn’t want the books appraised so really my question is, what does it matter what their actual value is then? If they are of use to the Embassy then they need to be moved out of the general circulation and put where those who want them can get to them. Otherwise I feel that they would be better housed in a university somewhere.
It wasn’t just the Filipiniana that was discussed. There are so many ancient children’s books on the shelves that at one point would have been worth a lot of money. But the state they are in is plain terrible. Age, heat, moisture, insects, mold have all taken away much of the monetary value and have reduced these 1950s editions to “just plain old”. While it would be nice to know about the series of Nancy Drews and others, I kept coming back to the thought… who cares? If they are discovered to be of high value, then what? Take them off the shelves so they aren’t used? Sold? What would the money go to? And why bother selling them if kids in the community are borrowing and reading them. And even more, returning them. Ms. Foster was concerned about books disappearing off the shelves. As far as I can see, that’s a given. Especially with how transient our population is, there are bound to be books that end up on home shelves in Pakistan and Ecuador because someone forgot to return it before packout. I don’t think folks are going to be malicious about it, stealing books to sell on ebay. These books have been on the shelves for the past 20 years, that’s not going to change now. What do I know, though. I’m just a volunteer.
So, in trying to get all the books on the shelves in the room half the size of the former library room, there are now these boxes of paperback romances and true serial killer mysteries. There are duplicates of popular current authors. There are textbooks that could keep 20 high school kids very happy. There are two complete sets of outdated encyclopedia sets and too many bound copies of National Geographic magazines to count. I said let’s sell them, let’s donate them, let’s sell them and donate the money, but whatever we do, let’s get them out of storage and let them be used. I wasn’t going to touch the rare books or the kids’ books, just the ones I thought anyone in my shoes would agree with.
I brought it up to ARC, but I didn’t bring it up to the ARC board and I certainly didn’t pass it through the Embassy curator and various Embassy library type officials. My bad. I also didn’t suggest that if a donation was to be made to someone that a big ole ceremony accompany it. I’d love to see Museo Pambata’s roving library get a whole new set of books to share, but if it were me I’d just give it to them quietly and let it be.
That isn’t the way an Embassy is run, even if we’re just talking about the community library. There has to be some sort of program sheet to go with it to make sure that somebody gets the credit and their name in lights. In reality, it's a donated library, where people drop books they don't want adding weight to their HHE. I don't feel it really belongs to anyone but the community (and I have real issues with only ARC members getting to use it, but that's a separate rant) and I don't know why someone in particular has to take credit for it.
I dropped the idea of the book sale once I was informed that Ms. Foster had canceled it anyway. It’s not a battle I needed to fight and certainly not something I needed to rush around to board members to try to work through. The books aren’t going anywhere and if the past is any indication, they won’t be going anywhere for a long time yet. I won’t be here forever either, so I don’t have a strong attachment to the library. I just thought cleaning it up was a good idea and I did have fun doing it.
The only negative thing I’ve come away with? Realizing there’s even more books out there I want to read. Where does anyone find the time?

The Cholesterol Caper

Our med checks have been completed, now we wait for our clearances.

There was one surprise on my check, my cholesterol has shot up to 209 during the past 20 months. We all know the “healthy” cutoff is 200. The doctor said not to change anything I’m doing though, as my “good” cholesterol aka HDL was 99. The goal is to be greater than or equal to 40, so I blew that out of the water. Maybe it’s all the canola oil we cook with, who knows, but I know that it’s probably genetically related as my mother has the same ratio of HDL to total cholesterol. My triglycerides were ok too.
OK, the point of this entry. The day I found out my level I got cocky and decided to make a bet with Ian. When he received his results we would compare and if my level was lower then I asked him to quit drinking soda for a month. If his level was lower he came up with me doing Dance Dance Revolution every night for a month. Oh, you know what Dance Dance Revolution is if you’ve ever been by an arcade. Those pads that you hop around on while a screen scrolls arrows or dots to show how your feet or hands should move? We have the foot pad connected to the Xbox in our bedroom. A dance program of bouncy repetition.
The day came for Ian’s results this past Friday. The kids and I sat watching Survivor in the waiting room, and guess who came out gloating.
This obnoxious man had a total cholesterol of 129. No, you didn’t read that wrong. He has always had a lower level than me, but this is getting ridiculous. I eat less and better than he does. I exercise more (ok, perhaps that’s a stretch but I am on the move more than he is). And I still come out short. His HDL was low at a pathetic 38, but who cares! His triglycerides came in at 87, almost half of the recommend under-150. And… arg. I just don’t think it’s fair!
Of course he had no sympathy. I made a bargain and that is that. We had company last night so I had a reprieve from my first night, but I don’t think he’ll be as forgiving tonight.
I’m ready to Dance Dance Revolution. Bring it on.

A Taste of Togo

No internet access for the past 3 days. We are so spoiled, but really it's like not getting postal mail for 3 weeks when you're used to immediate responses and you have to wait three whole days to get those messages. But we're back! At least for now.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

What Philippine high school girls think...

I spoke to a group of high school students today, as part of an Embassy educational program called International Education Week.

Several of us were asked to go to local high schools to talk about our experiences overseas as well as any other questions they had. I went to St. Scholastica's College for girls in Manila. In the Philippines, high school ends at age 16, so these were all 15-16-year-olds. It took a little while to get them to open up and ask questions, but it turned out to be a good two hours. Thankfully, only about a third of the questions were visa-related.
Here are some of the questions they asked:
-- How do you get a tourist visa? (Of course, the first question..)
-- Why can't the Philippines finish an election in a day like the U.S.? (I turned this around and used it to explain the electoral college and the effect of media projections on election night, saying that it actually does take many days to complete an official U.S. election.)
-- How can I go to college in the U.S.? How can I get a scholarship?
-- Why did I become a Government Official? (Because I have no personality and like dark suits... But really, this turned out to be a good discussion, where I talked about the differences we have with most people who live in the U.S., and why "Living here is more important to us than basketball." (They oohed and aahed at that line. It was really quite profound, but the set-up is important.)
-- Where do my children go to school?
-- Where am I going next? (Inevitable follow-ups: Where is Togo? What is in Togo?)
-- What have you noticed about Filipinos, and Filipino teenagers?
-- Who did you vote for?
And some stranger questions...
-- What is in Area 57? (They meant Area 51... sorry ma'am, that's classified.)
-- Are Americans selling rights to the moon? (Huh?)

Monday, November 15, 2004

C'est incroyable!

We saw "The Incredibles" today.

Ian and I have different impressions of it. While we both agreed it was too long and too talky, he didn't see a problem with the loads of violence that I did. I thought the story was too complicated (even Katherine didn't quite get it) and it had too much adult humor and adult situations. In fact aside from a couple spots that were obviously funny to any age, most of the dialogue and action was geared to adults. Unlike Shrek 2 that had adult humor amidst fairy tale creatures, the Incredibles were more like James Bond meets the the Fantastic Four... neither of which my kids have any exposure to. Every time the action slowed, the boys gots antsy and asked if the movie was done yet. They weren't involved in the storyline as it was all over their heads from marital trouble to crushes in school. And the action was entirely people shooting and things smashing and blowing up. People were killed in the movie. Granted they weren't explicitly shown, but what else can happen to characters sucked into plane engines and blown up by bombs? And if your kids are sensitive to children in danger, dads held hostage, kidnappings and that sort of thing... well, it's all in there.
OK, like I said, if you ask Ian he'll say the kids liked it and so did he. I thought it was OK, but I would encourage the 5 and under set -NOT- to see it. I don't think Rebecca got much out of it either, but it wasn't her kind of movie to begin with. It was fine for Katherine and yet... I don't know.
Someone said they thought the violence was no different than a Looney Tunes cartoon. I guess I can take an eight minute shot of TV screen sized cartoon violence a lot easier than two hours of movie screen sized cartoon violence.
My final thoughts: too long, too complicated, too talky and too much violence. There are better kids movies out there. I'm looking forward to seeing "Polar Express" and "Madagascar".
Side note: We've been spoiled by the movie theaters we generally go to. Usually we go to Greenbelt 3 or Rockwell Poweplant, but the showings we wanted were sold out. So we went to Greenbelt 1 where the rows aren't tiered, the seats are first come-first served, and they let us in the theater before the earlier showing was even done! Well, at least they had boosters for the smaller kids. Jonathon didn't keep getting flipped up by his chair.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

On the catwalk, part 2

OK, I had a long post written and then the program connection crashed and I stupidly hadn't saved it in Word so...

Here's the abbreviated version since I'm too tired to rewrite the whole thing.

We arrived at Robinson's Galleria on Ortigas at noon and the show wasn't until 4 p.m. Yeah, that's a long time to hang out, especially if you're not going to rehearse the girls on their walk or poses. At 2 p.m. the program started with a teen dance troupe, a few rounds of the "give me" game (which I absolutely can't stand because it encourages kids to attack their parents and demand various objects in order to barrel over each other to the stage and win a prize), a coloring contest and a Totally Spies quiz show. Ian and the boys didn't hang out for the first couple hours, they went to DreamScape and the movies instead. DreamScape is an indoor playland with bumper cars, roller coaster, carousel, log flume and other rides and games. At the theater, they would have preferred to see "The Incredibles" but the timing was bad, so "Shark Tale" took its place. I don't think it made that much of an impact though. According to the boys the only thing that happened was a shark eats a fish at some point. OK then. But they were happy. For a while Ian disappeared to Starbucks with Randy (Kristine's husband) to get some coffee. I can't blame him. Even while he enjoys malls and shopping, this was a bit much for everyone.
So at 4 p.m. the girls took the stage. They'd had their make-up done, Kristine had brought glitter for their hair (two of her daughters were in the show as well) and they felt quite glamorous with the lights and photographers. Some of the clothes were even nice! Which is good because each of them receives a gift certificate to the Cinderella stores which markets Osh Kosh garments, on top of the gift bags from "Bobbie", a cosmetics line. I can't wait to go shopping with the girls and pick up some cute things for next year.
Lights and music on, they did the show. Some of the kids had done this before. A couple have been modeling for a while for Barbie and Goldilocks so they were old pros. A few others were new but seemed to feel comfortable. My girls... were not. Katherine is so lanky and flexible that every move she made was exaggerated and she had a serious aire about her. Rebecca was so shy she practically ran across the stage, entirely forgetting to look up or stop to show off the clothes.
But they had a great time and if they never do this again, it's fine by me. I'm impressed they both completed the job and had a lot of fun doing it too. Every time my family does something new it makes me proud, so this is another notch in my Mom Belt of Family Achievements. Yup, I'm keeping track.
And kudos to Ian for putting up with it all.
I gotta say, my family is pretty cool.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Time passes

I still haven't met Audrey Noel. She's 5 days old and we haven't even met. The girls are finishing up a project for her, so I guess it's just as well that we haven't gone over to see them. But she sure is cute, if her pictures are at all true to life.

On the catwalk

This morning I didn't wake up until almost 7 and didn't crawl out of bed until almost 8. We've had a late couple of nights.

One night I blame "Fahrenheit 9/11" for keeping us up. Last night, Ian and I both were finishing our books so I blame those. He finished _Dark Star Rising_ by Paul Theroux. I finished _Memoirs of a Geisha_ by Arthur Golden. Did I mention that Katherine has finished all the Harry Potter books? She did that a while ago. I'm not sure what series to suggest to her next. We have the Narnia series but she doesn't seem interested in those yet. She has been reading a lot of shorter chapter books so I'm trying to keep the shelves stocked, but while I thought there were still plenty to choose from, I recently learned she's read almost all of them. Any ideas for a good, thicker series that she can sink her teeth into?
On deck I have _Schindler's Ark_, _The Village of Waiting_, _The Killing Fields_, and I still haven't finished _Glitter and Greed_. _Memoirs of a Geisha_ was OK but didn't touch me the way I expected it to. Yet another example of hearing too much about something before finding out myself. I've been disappointed by too many movies and books that others have said were not to be missed. I trust Ian's impressions but it's not like I can have everything go through him first.
I'm ready to pick up a new book. Usually I like to let a book sink in for a while so I can ponder it. I did that with _The DaVinci Code_ and with _The Poisonwood Bible_. I don't feel the need after _Geisha_. Hmm, what next?
We went to the DVD and music store today and bought a stack of new VCDs and some new music CDs. I think we're getting into Togo mode and are stocking up on home activities for the family. Like I mentioned before, group gifts are the way this Christmas. The Scholastic book order came in so there's a big box of books for under the tree too.
What else did we do today. I'm tired, this entry is obviously disjointed. OK, we went up to Quezon City (just another suburb of Manila) to do a clothing rehearsal for a fashion show the girls are doing tomorrow. That should be fun if the girls get over their nervousness. I've told them to let the music guide them in how they move and to feel like they're dancing as they walk. I can't help but think that if they do those, they'll feel happy and look happy. We'll see if it works. We tried to see "The Incredibles" today but it just opened at all the shows were sold out. Maybe Ian and the boys can go see it tomorrow while the girls do their rehearsal at Robinson's Galleria. We just won't tell the girls... shhhh.
I'll let you know how it all goes.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Things that Make you Go Hmm

Last night we watched Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11"

The majority of the American population elected and then re-elected this man.

I already had my opinions of him before seeing the film. There's nothing more to say.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Katherine and boys

During Filipinia Week, they held a barrio fiesta and one stop Katherine made was at the fortune teller.

Our exchange:
Katherine: That fortune teller wasn’t very good.
Me: Why? What did she say?
Katherine: Well, when I asked if I was going to be in a Harry Potter movie, she said No! And that’s not true.
Imagine me stifling loads of giggles.
See, we’ve been talking to her about Daniel Radcliffe and she has it in her head that all she has to do is ask him and she’ll be awarded a part in the last Harry Potter movie (for by then she will be 11, and finally old enough to be a First Year at Hogwarts). Of course, she has yet to actually write and ask such a thing, but for her it’s a done deal. We’ve told her she’d fit perfectly at Draco’s little sister Draconia. Never mind that so far Draco doesn’t have any siblings, nor is there a good likelihood she would be called Draconia. She’s sold.
In real life though, AJ (remember him? They arrived a couple months ago and we tried to break into their house) is 10 and when the two of them are together they are inseparable. We’ve seen the family at the pool on Sundays recently, and AJ and Katherine cross paths at school. One time when I was picking up the girls Rebecca and I were standing at the bottom of the stairwell waiting for Katherine to come down. AJ came by and I waved. He went around the corner then returned so I inquired if everything was OK. He said he was fine, just that he wanted to say hello and when I saw Katherine if I could tell her hello for him as well.
Have I mentioned what a nice kid he is and how he has a slight resemblance to Harry Potter?

Christmas is right around the corner!

There's only 45 days left! Rush to your nearest store!

We took stock of what we have for the kids this year. Several years ago, I'd envisioned birthdays with personal gifts and Christmas with sharing gifts. This year it seems to have worked. Each kids is getting an individual gift aside from stocking stuffers on December 6th, but the rest are group gifts. A box of books. A box of movies. A box of board games. A box of dress-up. I hope they enjoy it all.
We have Harry Potter items for Katherine. Ian bought an autographed photo of the cast off ebay, so that is framed. I also framed her photo from her fan letter and she's getting a Gringotts money bank. Nicholas is getting a remote controlled car. A big honkin' thing that daddy picked out. Rebecca is getting a box full of art supplies from paper to paints to pastels. Jonathon is getting... I don't know. I have totally drawn a blank for the kid.
Thank goodness there's 45 days left.

And the award goes to...

Congratulations to Laura and Ryan, as they and the rest of the Embassy community welcome...

Audrey Noel, born 8 November 2004, right on Seafront in a successful homebirth.
Kudos to the new parents for making and bringing into the world a beautiful little girl. I can't wait to meet her. If you've been reading the previous entry, you know why I haven't. While I am not sick (yet) I'm sure that my houseful of germs is clinging to me like glue. Goodness knows I don't want to be the cause of Audrey's first illness. Hopefully I'll get to meet her and see how Laura is doing on Friday. Ryan is an amazing husband who can do anything (he cooks, he quilts, and he cleans too) and I've seen him with Katherine and Weston's little girl, Liesl, so I know he's being the perfect dad.
Congrats to the new family! Love you guys.

The 12 Hour Bug

It’s come to my attention that I haven’t journaled recently. That’s hardly my fault! We were in Thailand for a week and the computer/internet has been having issues making it difficult for even me to reach our site to post. Bear with me, OK? We’re all doing fine. Well, maybe that’s not the whole truth.

Monday morning about 1 a.m. Katherine got extremely ill. She was sick the rest of the morning until about 11 a.m. All night she was up and about, moving from room to room trying to sleep but all that accomplished was her leaving a trail behind her as she ran to this bathroom or that one. Honestly, at one point I asked her just to stay in her room so come sunlight we'd only have her bedroom and bathroom to clean. No such luck. I ended up steam cleaning her rug and my rug, dropping her quilt at the dry cleaner to be laundered (it won't fit in our machine), wiping up too many spots of bodily fluids from the floor, doing load after load of towels and sheets and having the housekeeper deep clean the bathroom. It wasn't pretty and I think the rug in her room will need to be cleaned again because there is a lingering smell that's not all that pleasant.
But even though it’s Wednesday now, she has still barely eaten, has lost weight and is worn out. I’ve cut her from this weekend’s swim meet, something she wasn’t at all pleased with but considering she hasn’t swum in 2 weeks and hasn’t eaten in 2 days, I can’t see how she or her team would benefit from her participation. About 9:30, AmeriKids called and Jonathon had thrown up. So that morning I had two sick in bed. Katherine was worse off, but Jonathon took two naps that day and still went to bed at his normal time. As far as I can tell, the illness is not from food poisoning or anything we did or ate in Thailand. Within 12 hours, they are recovering.
Tuesday was an OK day. Everyone went to school though I did write a note asking for Katherine to be excused from P.E.
This morning Nicholas mentioned he wasn’t feeling well and that his tummy hurt. Ian woke up and said the same thing. Well, I packed up everyone and sent them off their respective directions only to be called again at 9:30 from AmeriKids to pick up Nicholas. He’d thrown up at school. I called to warn Ian. He’s already having some issues. So now Nicholas is in his bed and I’m trying to get him to nap.
Let’s hope I don’t get a call from ISM today.
3 p.m.: Ian is home and in bed. He was sick at work and then recently threw up at home. Nicholas is sore from his toilet visits and finally layed in his bed and is fast asleep.
Four down, two to go.
7 p.m.: Nicholas couldn't eat dinner so he munched on ice chips after throwing up the water and crackers he'd eaten a short while before. Jonathon barely touched his dinner. Katherine barely touched her dinner and didn't eat her lunch at school today. Rebecca barely touched her dinner and was complaining of a choking sensation in her neck. She threw up in the bathroom sink. Currently, the kids toilet doesn't flush as the chain broke. The kids sink doesn't drain because of Rebecca's visit. Our toilet doesn't flush because it's clogged. Thank goodness we have a third bathroom downstairs, though no one would make it to that one anyway.
The boys went to bed, Nicholas looks like death warmed over with heavy bags under his eyes. Jonathon was over tired. Rebecca has a trash can next to her bed while Katherine reads her stories. Ian hasn't left his bed all day but to use the toilet and to throw up. He looks pretty miserable too.
I'm experiencing that same choking feeling Rebecca mentioned. But you all know about moms, right? We aren't allowed to get sick and certainly not when others are ill. Wish me luck.