Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hero Photos

At Michael Steele's booksigning

Newt is such a nice guy!

After meeting Sean

Enjoying seeing Sean face-to-face

High-fives with Sean Hannity

Photo Op with Sean...silly girlie!

Trying to make the most of our seconds with Sean

Sean had to take this text. Yay for us! We had more time with him.

Sean watching the kids and asking them questions.


Jason Sehorn and Bruce Jenner

Sean and Meg Whitman (former CEO of Ebay- now running for governor of CA)


California- Land of Opportunity

I love living in California. It's sunny. It's warm. There are palm trees and year round flowers. And Conservative political figures and talk show hosts visit often! What more could a girlie ask for?
Since moving here we've visited Reagan Museum & Library twice. The first time we saw Michael Steele-Chairman of the Republican Party and yesterday we saw Sean Hannity.
I've also attended a small business summit where Newt Gingrich was the guest speaker. These guys are some of my favorite people!
I must admit yesterday was one of the highlights of my life. We attended a live taping of the Hannity show and then stood in line for Sean's latest booksigning. We were #539 (out of about 1500) and we weren't promised much time with Sean. There were no personalizations allowed, but candid shots were permitted. As we approached our time in line, Sean received a text message and he needed to respond. I made the most of those seconds. I tried to capture some pics of the two of us together (not that he realized he was in the pic). I also tried to get some photos of the kids with Sean.
After his texting, he took the time to ask the kids their names, ages, what sports they play and then high-fived them all. Priceless!!! He then asked me if I was their momma. Yes, I quickly replied. He shook my hand and I was so thrilled!
After these wonderful, brief seconds we were herded back out.
I had just met a Rock Star! I was shaking. I was so excited after meeting Michael and Newt too!! Now I can add meeting Sean to my list of great life events.
After driving the hour and a half home, I was still on cloud nine. I ended up staying up until midnight, reflecting on this great day and the great opportunities we've had here in California.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Disneyland Photos

Ready for Captain EO
At California Adventure
Beautiful Group with Minnie
Love These Kids
These kids are BRAVE!
Mr. Incredible!  I love the Incredibles!
The Ugandan Kids LOVE High School Musical

Disneyland Blessing

Our little girlie was on a soccer team last fall. One dad of a teammate works for Disney and offered us his five complimentary employee passes to take the kids to Disneyland. We are once again grateful for the generosity of a new-found friend.

We accepted this gift and I took the kids to Disneyland along with another host-mom and two of her choir girls.

We spent most of our day at California Adventure. The kids are CRAZY about High School Musical so we wanted to see the HSM 3 performance. The kids ended up wanting to see it a second time. Two of the kids with us were selected to dance with the the HSM performers. Woo Hoo!

We also went to the stage performance of Aladdin. One boy liked it so much I took him for a second show.

The rest of our day we hit the rides...Most of the kids did California Screamin', Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, and the re-opened Captain EO 3-D movie.

We had a GREAT day and made the most of our time there.



Sitting in the waiting room next to Kalim. He's very nervous to be back in the dentist office. The cavity he had filled is still causing him quite a bit of pain and he now needs a root canal. He sits with his head in his hands, drumming his forehead with his fingertips. I wish I could do something, but it's in his best interest to get his tooth repaired.

These were the events of our Monday morning. The rest of the kids were at our house doing schoolwork with the Ugandan Aunties.

He had his appointment and had his tooth further repaired. We then went home and went about our day.

That evening as I was preparing to pray with the kids, I asked Kalim what was the best part of his day. I wasn't expecting he'd mention the dentist, but he said the best part of his day that he was most thankful for was his trip to the dentist. He told me, "Mum, I am thankful. He take my pain away."

What a HUGE blessing! I'm so thankful for a caring, generous dentist who provided amazing dental care to children who don't have the luxury of preventative dentistry.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Photos from Chuck Cheese

Chuck E. Cheese Entertainment

Recap Yesterday Then Off To Disneyland

I was going to post last night, but just couldn't find any energy to barely keep my eyes open, let alone focus on the computer.

Wednesdays are our mom's group at church days. I'm a Mentor Mom at a table of younger moms. I've been completely blessed with this mentorship opportunity and I may be a bit biased, but I think I have AMAZING women at our table. They are strong, energetic, godly women. I will post a photo of them soon.

Anyway, at this group, I was asked to be on a discussion panel. We were asked questions about parenting, being a wife, and caring for ourselves. I really had a great time and pray that God will use this time for His glory.

Afterward we went to another host home for lunch. The other two boys from the boys are there and I think they were all happy to see each other. They had some quality Wii, trampoline, and basketball time. I wish I had more time to get to know the other kids better too.

I was so tired yesterday afternoon, but needed to dig deep to prepare for the momentous night out at Chuck E. Cheese. For whatever reason this hotspot was top of the boys list of want-to-dos. They enjoyed the arcade, and accumulated tickets for prizes.

Funny thing though...we ordered two large pizzas thinking 2 adults, 6 kids...turns out two of the boys don't eat pizza. Oh well, lunch for another day.

Right now I'm listening to a cd I made for the boys. I went onto iTunes and let them pick their favorite songs. Disney music is a big hit with them. So we have Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus, and lots of High School Musical music filling the house. It cracks me up how much they love the High School Musical thing. Just like the girls we hosted from a previous choir.

Well, I'm off...need to be out of the house in 20 minutes.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

New Game for Our New Friends

We've shared our love of the "Slug Bug" game with our Ugandan friends. It was a learning process today as they didn't even know what a bug was. Now they have their eyes peeled on all streets and it's getting to be quite the competitive game with six people each scanning for slug bugs. They're identifying regular modern slug bugs, slug bug olds, slug bug old vans, and slug bug convertibles. And along with that shouting out the color of the car. It's all quite fun until a bug is called at the same time. Next lesson...ties.
Oh, how I love my job!!

Relaxing Day...But I'll Pay For It

The [Ugandan] boys are settling in very well. Today we saw many more smiles, out-loud laughter and a lot more conversation. Their teeth are feeling much better after yesterday's visit to the dentist. I'm so grateful.

This morning the kids just relaxed playing the Wii and playing outside, while I caught up on laundry and cleaning around the house. After lunch we headed out to Newport/Balboa Peninsula. I was told there were some fun arcade type spots there. It was a Beautiful day! Since it's basically the off-season, there was no problem finding parking so we picked a spot close to our destination. There was a sign in front of the van that read, "NO PARKING BETWEEN 6AM-8AM." Cool. It was the afternoon. We unloaded. I counted all 6 kids and we were off. We walked along a boardwalk. We heard and saw seals barking out in the water. Most of the attractions were closed, but we did find one arcade open. I got the kids $10 worth of tokens and they scouted out more under machines, in coin drops, etc. This arcade awarded tickets after the kids played. After a little while of playing, they turned in their tickets, bought their prizes and we headed out.

We then went to the pier. We walked down the pier a bit, but the kiddos got a little chilly with the wind.

Next stop, play time. Swings. Climbing structure. Much fun!

Then we decided time to head home for a late lunch. On our way back to the car a car pulled up behind us and who was in it??? Surprise! God orchestrated a meeting! It was the Ugandan chaperons! It was so good to see them. The kids were excited. I was excited! Perfect!

Back to the car.

We loaded in and as I put the keys in the ignition and noticed something on the windshield. I wondered out loud, "Did I get a ticket?" I glanced back up at the sign. Hmm... I grabbed the ticket and it read that I didn't pay the meter. I glanced behind the car...Oops!

In the busyness of 6 kids, unfamiliar location, and parking, I overlooked the meter. HUGE Bummer!!! I received a $53 ticket!! So sad.

The kids were bummed too. The Ugandan kids saw the look on my face. Their response, "Sorry Mum."

If I hadn't had such a wonderful day, I would have probably cried. But it's been too good!

Sometimes life just happens.

Dental Visit

Edward is not very excited about this adventure

At the Park

Photos from First Night Dinner

Saffina and Edward

Kalim (on left), Dennis (on right), Edward (back right)

Our Visitors Have Arrived

We are now hosting our 4th group of kids from the Ugandan Children's Choir. What a blessing!!
I picked them up on Sunday and the group of 10 kids were split up between four families to spend their vacation break week. The two chaperones are with a separate family so they can enjoy rest and relaxation for a whole week.
We have three boys with us, Kalim, Edward, and Dennis. They are a little older than the boys from previous choirs, but so much fun for our kids. They love basketball, soccer and of course...the Wii. They've had quite a competitive Wii FIFA Soccer Tournament going on.
This group of boys has specific dietary requests that we haven't had before. One boy doesn't eat meat, only fish and another loves potatoes and would prefer rice or potatoes with every meal. Previous choirs have been voracious eaters, but its taken me a bit more time (actually just one day) to figure out what these boys might like to eat.
Fortunately, I've discovered some wonderful Asian markets here and yesterday I took them to find something they might like. After wandering the produce section and the beginning of the meat section, they said, "Mum, this store is like Uganda!" We found jack fruit, which apparently they love, mangoes, pineapple, cassava, fresh tilapia, rock cod, and more. The tilapia was fresh and packed on ice. The boys picked out a fish then we had it cleaned and fried on the spot. After the frying they'd walk behind the cart enjoying the aroma. It was a BIG hit and we'll be going back for more fried tilapia this week.
After the good eats it was time to head to the dentist. I've met a friend here whose husband is a dentist. He offered his services to the kids free of charge. Because the kids have a lot of dental needs, he took care of the most pressing issue. Two of the boys had cavities that made it to the root of their teeth and one boy just had little cavities and received fillings like sealants.
The whole experience was a bit traumatizing for the boys. I think after the tilapia, they were pretty excited about this vacation week, but then came the dentist. Edward was the most concerned of all. I prayed with him prior to his dental work. I wish I had an interpreter with us to explain how important it was to take care of these issues. His most serious cavities were between his two front teeth. On one tooth the cavity had spread to the root. I know they may have some pain today.
I have major dentist anxiety and when I saw the sweetheart sitting on his clenched hands I knew how he felt. Because we went to the dentist's office after hours, we got home at about 8:00pm.
I quickly fried up the beef liver with onions and tomatoes for the boys. They love liver...not so much a favorite among anyone in our family. We also had fried cabbage with onions and rice. The two older boys were still a bit numb and didn't eat much dinner.
Let's hope for more enjoyable days for the boys while they're on vacation:)