Saturday, February 28, 2009

Vicks on Feet

Last week, Maya's cough began keeping us her up at night. It was awful. She was fine all day, but by night, she would hack like a werewolf howling at the moon.
We tried propping her up on pillows, giving her over-the-counter cough medicine (which is kind of a no-no), and bringing her in our bed so that we could hold and comfort her as her lungs tried to eject themselves through her mouth.
Wendy mentioned that I should try putting Vicks on her feet. When I asked her if that really worked, she didn't know, she had never tried it. I dismissed the suggestion as an Urban Legend.
Last Sunday Maya climbed up on my lap during our small group bible study and coughed herself to sleep on my chest. Afterward, one of the women timidly approached me and offered a suggestion, "I've heard that putting Vicks on the feet can help" Then she quickly offered a disclaimer, "I don't know if it works, I've never tried it, but it may be worth a shot".
Urban Legend-Believer. Ha. I'm so much smarter than everyone else in the world. Really people.

Sunday was a terrible night. Since the girls sleep together, we felt it was only appropriate for Maya to keep us awake all night instead of Amelle, so Maya snuggled up in between Dirt and I and coughed away. We felt so helpless, we just didn't know how to make the coughing stop. At one point she coughed so hard that she threw up.

On Monday morning I was complaining to Wendy about my sleepless night and she again, mentioned Vicks. "Wen, I'm sure it's an Urban Legend - look it up online". So she did. Urban Legend listed it as "unconfirmed". Then she did a general google search and found rave reviews from moms everywhere. I decided to try it.

That evening I told Maya that I had some medicine to stop her coughing and she was as anxious as I was to try it. I showed her the jar of Vicks and told her that I'd be putting it on her feet. I told her that it "smells kinda funny", but it would help her cough.

We were so excited to try it that we went upstairs early, I thought I'd put it on and then we'd just relax and catch up on some Tom and Jerry before bed. I twisted open the cap and smelled that old familiar, unforgettable Vicks scent. After I took a 3 second voyage back to my childhood (my mom was a proponent of Vicks on the chest), I dug my finger in the soft gel and slathered it on Maya's little feet, and then covered them with socks. Things were great for about 2 seconds. Maya isn't normally a sock girl, so she immediately wanted the socks removed. I told her that we couldn't remove the socks and she was okay with that....until the full Vicks aroma made it's way to her nose.

"That smells gwoss!" she proclaimed. She tried covering up her nose with her blanket, but the strong Vicks aroma had spread itself onto everything in close proximity - her blanket was saturated with Vicks. She began to cry and repeat, "that smells gwoss", "take it off", "I want to cough". I then tried to quarantine her feet by wrapping them up in blankets, but to no avail, the Vicks odor could not be contained.

After 30 minutes of crying, I had no choice but to remove her socks, wipe the Vicks from her feet and re-sock with clean socks. This by no means, eliminated the Vicks aroma, but it did make Maya feel that I had taken the proper remediation steps and she was content with that. She fell asleep next to me without coughing. When Dirt came in, he carried her into her bed, where she slept soundly all night.

I woke up with one thought on my mind, "it works".

The next night I changed my strategy. I put her to bed as normal, she fell asleep and began hacking. I ran up to her room before she was fully woke and quickly rubbed some Vicks on her feet, no socks. Moments later there was silence. She slept for the rest of the night in her bed.

On the third night, I awoke hacking. In between coughs I reached my arm out from my warm covers and felt around for the Vicks jar on my nightstand. I sat up, de-socked, and applied the Vicks to my own feet. I re-socked and fell back to sleep; the coughing spell had ceased (note: I had to reapply later that evening).

So, given my experience, Vicks on the feet works.

Go, try it - report back with your findings!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Dear Fine People of the World,

Can we all just agree to let boys have boy names and girls have girl names? Up until recently, "Avery" was a male name, most notably a black male name. Unfortunately, 10 years ago, I didn't get the memo that moms were going to begin naming their little white daughters "Avery". Now my son is walking around with an ambiguous name, perhaps tilting towards becoming a popular girl name (I shutter at the thought that it would ever become the "Jennifer" of my generation).

The first time my son realized that there were also "girl Averys", I sat him down in front of the computer and did a google image search using the name "Avery". It was no surprise when tons of images of black male athletes showed up. My son swelled up with pride, clearly he carries the name of champions. This name exuded strength, sportsmanship, athleticism, masculinity, and cosmic space suits (thanks Avery Brooks).

The name "Addison" was also on my list for boys names (if we were ever to, I don't know...say, adopt a son). However I have recently learned that the name Addison is now sharing the same fate as the name Avery. Once a man's name, now the name of little white girls. I am particularly confused by this one because Addison means, "son of Adam" - so not sure why people would choose that as a girl's name? (Unless they just follow whatever Hollywood does - I've heard that there is a television show with a female Addison character). Avery had a (black male) friend named Addison in pre-school and one of his team mates has a 15 yr old (white) brother named Addison. It's a boys name, people. Go name your girl's Susan or Sally or Ann or something. Leave the boy's names alone.

I personally blame it on Hollywood, the crux of modern society. Celebrities just love to mess things up for the rest of us. A while back, Audra sent me this validating article:
“More than any celebrity since Sylvester Stallone (whose three daughters names all start with ‘S’ and have the middle name of Rose), Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn have established a definite pattern in naming their trio, Finley Faith, Avery Grace, and Emery Hope. The three first names are all formerly male names, and all end in the letter ‘y’ — giving them the ‘ee’ sound that makes them a bit more feminine. All three have virtue middle names — which also go a long way towards softening their names.

The couple’s first two choices have definitely had an influence on other baby namers — Finley, an Irish surname, had rarely been used as a girl’s name before, and it’s now an accepted option, while Avery is making a rapid climb up the popularity lists, already in the Top 50 last year, and definitely moving higher. The same thing could happen to Emery, which is a slightly more serious sounding name with German roots, but parents might well start to see it as a fresher alternative to the overly popular Emily and Emma.”

I just have one remaining question, who are Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Here's an idea...

Why not collect all of your hotel soaps and lotions and give them to someone who doesn't have access to hygiene products?

So simple, yet so powerful.

Or, take it one step further and set up a repository for hotel hygiene products at your company, particularly if you work for a company where people travel frequently. Since most people bring their own soaps and shampoos along with them when they travel, and the cost of the "complimentary" products are already factored into the room rate, this is a no-brainer. There are several great uses for these travel sized items: 1) impoverished areas worldwide (can be given to a local church for missions) 2) local homeless shelter, 3) US soldier care packages.
Just an idea...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Week 5: Green

For the record, I hated this week's challenge: Green. Here were the instructions:

Shoot something green - and bonus points if you can find any blessed green plant life growing out of the ground! 2-6 images on the blog Wednesday

Really Audra? Didn't we just do a color last week?



That's right Suckers. If you're sensing a little rebellion, you're on point.



Bonus Points

...some "green plant life" growing out of the ground! Boo-ya.




This Old Wreath

I'm almost as bad as the guy with the inflatable Santa in his front lawn, aren't I? When is the appropriate time to take a wreath down? Does it matter that it's a bayberry wreath and not a needle wreath? (though I do have a needle wreath hanging above my mantel as well - I'm not proud of this, I'm just being honest.)



I actually took this one a few weeks ago, but it was green and cute so I went for it. It won't be the first or the last time I've broken the rules of this crazy photography challenge.

So, what's your pick this week? (I do realize that I haven't given you much to choose from). I really love that you guys never unanimously decide on any one photo; it just goes to show how subjective art is. Oh, and I heard an interesting fact today: did you know that men and women view beauty differently (no kidding, right?). Seriously though, women use both sides of the brain when assessing whether something is "beautiful", while men only use one side of the brain when assessing beauty.

[refraining, refraining].

2nd Official Ethiopian Adoption Update

..the others were “unofficial”.

So, where did we leave off, ah yes, I remember, it was with this post, in November:

…We actually began filling out the home-study paperwork and attending adoption teleconferences a few months back. When our nation’s economic downturn evolved into an economic crisis, Dirt decided to put the brakes on the adoption thing, citing economic uncertainty as his major concern. He wanted to be more financially prepared for the expense of adoption, as we’ll need to come out of pocket with $25,000 in 10-12 months to complete the process. I just hate it when Dirt is all responsible-like [eyes rolling].

So, we’ve agreed to hold off until February to see how things play out with his current contract…

It’s all coming back to me; I agreed to not bug Dirt about table the whole adoption thing until February. For the most part, I’ve been good about this, unless of course, you consider flooding Dirt’s e-mail box with adoption-related blog posts and articles…as well as an occasional e-mail from Jesus Himself (who occasionally borrows my gmail account to send “signs” to Dirt).

So here we are in February. As Dirt predicted, his contract did end (on Dec 22), so money is still an issue, probably even more so than before. However, never having been one to let a little thing like common sense stop me from doing something, I still believe that adoption is possible for us. I actually view the loss of Dirt’s income as a potential blessing because it may move us into a lower income bracket where we might be able to qualify for the adoption tax credit.

However, finances aside, I don’t think it’s time yet. This is a strange feeling for me because I’m terrible at waiting for things I want, (and let me tell you, I’ve gone from lukewarm to red hot for adoption). I keep getting this sense that I’ll know what to do when I come back from Ethiopia in April. I don’t know what that means, but I trust it.

So, we’re all on hold again, stay tuned for an April update!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sisterly Love

There is truly nothing like the love of sisters

There are a few different things going on in this video:

1) Amaya wants Amelle to get in big trouble. (Just before the video starts rolling, she is tells on Amelle, and I asked her what she wants me to do about it)

2) Amelle is trying to change the subject. She is a master at subject-changing. It's really one of her key strengths.

3) I am trying to deny that I play a monster game that consists of me chasing the girls around with a wild claw hand that I have no control over.

My only parting thought is that there is nothing Amelle wouldn't do for Maya, and this is the love she gets in return. Sisterly love.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Spa Birthday Party

What do you get when you have four awesome women and 6 girly girls (one of whom just turned 8)?
A spa birthday party!
My dear friend Monica manned the facial station. Here Maya enjoys a candle-light facial, complete with relaxing spa music (thanks to the Dan Gibson station on Pandora)

My awesome MIL manned the pedicure station. Here is Joelle, getting her tootsies scrubbed, rubbed, and painted.

Ariel worked the make-up station. She had the arduous task of creating a look for little girls that was one step below clown/streetwalker. There is just nothing subtle about an 8 year old in make up.

Wendy did a fantastic job manning the manicure station, complete with an incomprehensible Asian accent. She even stayed in the lines, which was particuarly impressive, given that after the 3rd manicure, she was high off acetone fumes.
I am so grateful to have such awesome women in my life. Amelle's party was a smashing success. At least two of the party-goers expressed that it was "the best party" they had ever been to.
Oh, what did I do? I got in line for the spa treatment, of course. Just kidding (though I wanted to). I was the MC of sorts, getting girls from one station to the next, getting supplies/clean water, and facilitating the make-your-own-pizza station.
Good times!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Uncle Dirt Love

I'll admit it. I have nothing to say right now and the only reason I'm blogging is to get further away from those rotten RED pictures.

However, can I just pause and love these pictures for a minute?

Dirt is a baby-lover. You may not know this about him, but he loves the babies. Yeah he does. He talks to them like they understand...even when they're only weeks old! Yeah, it's true. You'd think they were old friends the way he talks to them. And he especially loves to gobble their little necks.

...and the babies love this move! They always come back for more.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Week 4: RED!

It's week four of the photography challenge and my forth consecutive week of failure. This week's challenge was RED, but then Audra, knowing my kryptonite is shooting with a wide depth of field, added that into the challenge. Then, informally, I told her that I was going to try to complete the challenge without using any pictures of Maya - and she suggested I do it without any of my children, but as you'll see...that didn't work out so well for me. That stinkin' Audra is always trying to raise the bar on me.

So I didn't shoot with a wide depth of field, because I'm pretty sure that my 50mm lens is super glued onto my camera. Not only that, but my aperture is jammed down at 1.8. Yeah, really, it is. Plus I'm mentally challenged, I have 10 broken fingers, a lead foot, and PMS.

So the good news is that Audra couldn't have picked a better week to photograph RED. Valentines week! not only did I do RED, but I also added another theme: hearts. Boo-ya!

Here they are:

Belly Heart

My Valentine

Mom's Heart
(I'm pretty sure my heart is made out of chocolate kisses, or maybe it's my thighs?)

Bead Love

Stolen Heart



Stealer of Hearts

Future Bribery

(I truly feel sorry for my kids sometimes)

Oh, and just 'cause I like to get all up inside your head, let me know which one you like best.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's Starting Again...

This morning I glanced over at my nightstand and noticed that it's happening again. See...this is how it begins - with a just a few books...

So, here's the anatomy of my book hoarding (from the bottom):
  • 2 books I've read that I'm not ready to put into the family library (for no real reason, but I tell myself that I may want to go re-read something I've dog-eared - but I rarely ever do).

  • Then there is the "pick up reading" book (Lonely Planet's Ethiopia Travel Guide).

  • Then two books that I plan to read (I usually order several books at a time to save on shipping)

  • Then the book I am currently reading.

This is how it all begins. It's clear to me now. I am determined not to go back to here:

That is a bad, bad place. I have found the light (and the top of my nightstand) and I won't go back to living in darkness! Books = library, not nightstands. Yes, I can do it! I'm the man! I'm lovin' it! Is it in you? Just do it! (that was for you Dirt) :-)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Eight Birthday Candles!

Look how far we've come!

I'm generally not one to show midriff pics of myself, but while I was searching for a birth-day picture of Amelle, I came across this beauty and I thought it would be gasp-worthy. What do you think is stranger about this photograph: the fact that there was only ONE baby in that enormous belly or the fact that I'm standing next to Dirt's Buddhist alter?

I've always liked this picture because it was my first look at Amelle. Plus I like that Dirt can't take his eyes off of his new daughter. I also think it's cool that I can see the doctors in the background stitching my insides up. But the thing that made this picture new to me today was the fact that I had my hair braided like Amelle's hair is braided today.

This is Amelle's first birthday. She wasn't feeling well that day. Amelle thinks she remembers this day, but she doesn't.

And here's my girl - eight years old! Wow.
I love you Amelle!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Fieldtrip Awesomeness

On Monday Dirt chaperoned Avery's field trip to the NH Capital, State House and museum. I'd like to quickly highlight the two conversations that resulted from that field trip.

Dirt & Erin:
E: How was the field trip today?
D: It was sweet. We went to the State House, we got to meet the Governor, that was pretty cool. He came out and talked to all the kids and shook their hands. There were some really amazing paintings all over. There were also a bunch of Senators hanging around, we got to sit in the area where the State Representatives meet to pass laws. It was a pretty sweet field trip. Then we went to the museum and that was nice - they had a flag from the civil war with a bullet hole through it and blood stains....
(let me just add an editorial reminder here, that I am talking to my 36 year old husband)
E: Yeah - um, how was Avery?
D: He's a cool dude.
E: How many kids did you have in your group?
D: Six
E: How were they?
D: A bunch of geeks

Avery & Erin:
E: So I heard that you had a pretty cool field trip?
A: Yeah, we got to meet the Governor.
E: That's neat.
A: Yeah, he shook our hands and then everyone was running round saying "I'll never wash this hand again"
E: Did you tell them that the Governor is just a regular person?
A: No, I ran around saying "I'll never wash my hand again".

Where have I gone wrong? :-)
Seriously though, I do hope our kids grow up caring more about meeting orphans than meeting governors. I hope they grow up viewing people through God's eyes instead of through the lens of what the world tells us is important.
...and in the meantime, I hope I can grow in that direction too.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Week 3: Hold onto Your Hats

This week, Audra let me have the honors of choosing the photography challenge. I definitely "took it down a notch".

This week's photography challenge is going to be a little more low key (because Audra let me pick it). So the theme is "hats". Like as in the kind you wear on your head. Any kind of hat will do - hats on heads, hats on feet, strange hats, normal hats, winter hats, baseball caps, wigs, it doesn't matter - you choose. The rules are simple, the photographs have to: 1) have been taken between today and next Wednesday 2) have been taken by you, and 3) your top 5 photographs need to be posted on your blog by 3p EST next Wednesday:

t5m hats

Let me just say that I really, really tried to care about hats in and of themselves.

Hats off
...but I didn't. Even when I did freaky Photoshop things to them, I still didn't care about them.

Mad Hatter
...but as soon as I put them on a head...

My Hat

...they became interesting to me.

All Hat
(I did not play with her eyes in Photoshop)

Tip of the Hat

This concludes this week's photography challenge photographs. I actually posted 6 photos instead of 5, but that's just because I hated the first photograph (t5m hats), but felt as though I needed to prove that I did try to snap shots of just hats. That's probably going to be Audra's favorite pic, she usually likes the picture that I like the least.

Oh, and as I was going through pictures and editing, this photograph make me laugh out loud:

My poor children. They'll never know what's it would've been like to have been raised by a normal mother, one that doesn't force them to act as photography subjects/assistants/experiments.

So, which one is your favorite pic?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Beckett

Happy 1st Birthday Beckett!

Monday, February 09, 2009


I know that this is my 2nd basketball post in the last two weeks, but this blog is about my life and basketball is my life.
Not really, but it feels like it. Basketball is an everyday term in our house.

Basketball drives my schedule and dictates what time I need to leave work at night.

Avery has practice and games several days a week. Dirt plays twice a week and runs the church basketball league once a week.

Um, did anyone notice that these indoor gym shots aren't blurry? I finally figured it out! Low F Stop (1.8), High ISO (1600+), shooting on aperture priority. Yeah, they're grainy, but I'm taking that over the blur.
Oh, and did anyone notice the 23 inch rat's tail on Blue #25? ...more to come on that...

Saturday, February 07, 2009


Have you ever done something that you were so ashamed and embarrassed about that you felt like you couldn't tell anyone about it?

...but then you also had this nagging feeling that you should just get it off your chest by confessing it to somebody?

Here goes: last week while in the grocery store with Amelle, she picked out this cereal, "Magic Stars" - obviously our grocery store's generic equivalent to "Lucky Charms". She smiled as she brought forth the box for permission to enter our cart. That's just about the time I suffered my momentary lapse in sound judgement. "Amelle, you might want to get the Lucky Charms, they're probably much better than those". She shook her head. "Yeah, Amelle, I really think you'll like the Lucky Charms better, you don't want the generic brand" (my face was all scrunched up). Amelle whined "Mommmm, yeah, I do". That's when I caught a glimpse, out of the corner of my eye, of another shopper watching this ridiculous exchange.

I was instantly shamed.

I mean really, if the girl wants generic cereal, seriously, what do I care? She only eats those dehydrated marshmallows anyway.

And in these economic times, I should be glad she's being fiscally responsible.

I guess the worst part of all this is that I do buy generic substitutes. And I do believe that in many cases, there is nothing wrong with generic brands. In in one rare case,"Reduced Calorie Syrup" (wow, talk about an oxymoron), I actually prefer generic over the brand name!

But, there are limitations on generics. There are so, so many things that cannot be purchased as a generic:

...and cereal is on that list for me.
So, what's on your list of "acceptable generics" vs. "must have brand names"?