Tuesday, January 29, 2008

inklings book club

yesterday was not all bad though...we had our first women's inklings book club by our fireplace last night. we are reading surprised by joy, the autobiography of c.s. lewis. it was so great to share with the salve regina girls. we really connected and i think this little community is going to deepen and grow in fellowship. each one was so insightful and open to sharing. thank you ladies for making me apart of your friendship circle. it was so rosy and cozy by the warm glow. blessings to these ladies.

a close call

before i begin, let me first say that i love the ymca, i love their mission, what they stand for etc. i have been very pleased with my time at our y here in newport, and until yesterday was happy to have a membership. however, after yesterday i am compelled to move my membership over to the newport athletic club.

so here is the story:

yesterday i dropped the kids off at the treehouse so that i could workout. about an hour and half later, i came walking down the hallway to pick the kids up. i noticed that two of the workers were coming out of the bathroom with my kids - both of them. rhys and ransom. now rhys is potty trained but ransom is not - he is 16 months old. as i approached the workers and the kids, one new worker (sorry i don't have her name), who was holding ransom said that he had escaped (!!!!) was wandering the hallway and she had seen him about to tumble down the stairs --- okay wait a minute - he was supposed to be in the treehouse (it has a gate and a door!) and why is he out on his own? the poor little fellow was red cheeked and flustered and very glad to see mama. so i brought my kids in to the treehouse and asked them to explain the story. i remained very calm and was able to keep the growing hysteria bottled up. there were three workers for the kids. two workers always have to go with the kids to the bathroom for legal purposes. so there was one worker left. she apparently was cleaning up applesauce on the floor and didn't see ransom walk out of the kids' area. as i was leaving i suggested that they make an incident report about this with the director of the treehouse. then i decided that they might not do that so i was going to do it - i mean if a mother isn't the advocate for her child who is? so i was able to have someone track down the director. she apologized up and down and had the two workers involved explain what happened. then it became more clear what happened. the new worker (who isn't "familiar" with which kid goes with which mom) saw a mom lead her three kids out and leave the door open and ransom followed her out. so the worker "assumed" that he was with the mom. yep that's right folks. assumed. never checked an id, or the list. just let some stranger walk out with my kid. so here ransom was wandering around by himself. the pool is just down the hallway from the treehouse room - where he could have just easily wandered in and fallen in the pool. or fallen down the steps, had not the worker rescued him. the director said that they had never had an incident like this and that she had been there for 2 years in charge. she apologized up and down as did the workers. they were very understanding and professional but it was obvious that this system ain't workin!! i said this is very serious and you might think about putting a system in place whereby you give out a sticker that coincides with the child so that only a parent with the sticker that matches their kid, takes their kid. it should NOT be this loosy goosy. i said that every church nursery i have ever been in has some sort of accountability system in place to prevent this kind of thing or worse from happening. the incident ended with them apologizing and me thanking them for being honest and talking about it with me. but in no way did i let them think i was going to continue going to the treehouse. i just let that be the unspoken decision. plus i wanted to talk it over with graham before i made my final decision. its always best to leave on a polite note then burn bridges or say something that can't be take back.

and so under the direction of my husband i am going to write a business letter explaining the incident and letting them know why i am not going to renew my membership. i think this problem can be easily fixed. but for now the system is broken and its not safe for my children to be there. there needs to be a change with the signing out and picking up the kids - checking of ids etc. if it means that they need to have two facilities b/c of overcrowding then do it. or if they need to hire more workers (since it seems chaotic anyway) then do it. other ymca's have really good systems (ie the mission valley y in san diego) in place and don't encounter these issues. i think with a little tweeking, the treehouse can really become an even better facility to its members. the workers were always very sweet to my children and i have appreciated being able to drop them off and get some free time to myself. but i just don't feel that they can be trusted to keep a watchful eye on where my children are and who is picking them up.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Kite Runner

we saw kite runner this weekend down at jane pickens. i have read the book - one of my most favorite books of all time. i must admit i was really hesitating seeing the movie b/c well you know how movies v. books are - the book is always better. at least it used to be. nowadays, as my sister in law whitney reminded me, the movies really are comparable. this was no exception. kite runner was absolutly phenomenol. one of the neatest things about it was that graham and i understood a lot of the dari dialect b/c he has been learning farsi (persian) and has been teaching me. i was amazed at how easy it would be to pick it up if we were immersed. this book and learning the language, along with other films and literature graham discovers from that region is making me have a love for afganistan and iran. for muslim culture. for the plight of women and children. for what they have and what they had. so today i picked up a thousand splendid sins, housseini's second novel (a mother daughter story) and have been burning through it. sitting by the warm, hot fireplace, whilst the children are coloring, watching movies, and playing picnic and house. i am about to run back to my story. i would like to post a link to graham's paper on iranian freedom in blogging. i think it will shed some light on this beautiful and repressed country. also i might post some rumi too - i gave him a book of rumi's poetry for christmas. its gorgeous. enjoy.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

moms in motion

last night i took my moms in motion class at the y. its for prego moms or moms with newborns. i love it. love it. we did boxing with weights and all these cool stretches and exercises that felt like i was giving my body a vacation - i know it sounds funny - i was working out - but i was stretching all these joints and muscles that get so tense being a mama and arent' used - despite the 15 million times i go up and down the stairs and the heavy children that i regularly carry all over tarnation!:) i truly feel that i am doing something for my baby and for myself - taking time out to be healthy is so important. it motivates me.

of course - right before i went i made tuna noodle casserole (which i was craving and salavating for all day!) and homemade warm banana bread! oh baby the baby loved it!

but seriously, at the end of the workout for the cool down session my instructor (she is awesome!) had us lay on our sides and just talk to our babies for a bit, taking time out to recognize our unborn children. it was really neat. i realized that this pregnancy has not been bad at all (so far) and that i may just change that maxim i have been saying after three babies that "i hate being pregnant." i want to embrace this time. its about being aware. and of course about not having morning sickness, which i have been blessed to not have ... yet. :)

Friday, January 4, 2008

more christmas pictures from maryland




christmas homemade






christmas gifts worked out really well this year - although we are still working on ours for everyone (a plaster family cookbook). each member had their own version of homemade and it was so fun to give and receive. each year we'll continue to make new things to give and it will get more and more creative. hopefully next year i will have sewn some gifts...we'll see since we have a little surprise as homemade as they come --- we are expecting our 4th child!!!! surprise to all of you who probably arent' that surprised! we are thrilled and so blessed to welcome a new little plaster in to our family.

Baby its cold outside and inside





we have arrived back in newport after a wonderful stay with mark and re down in maryland. we enjoyed all of the mild weather and probably got a little too used to it. graham had turned the heat down to 55 F before we left (we always turn it down that low at night b/c we have electric blankets and space heaters, something you have to do to keep the cost down.) so when we came home i turned up the heat but it wasn't until yesterday morning that we realized the heat wasn't "on" at all. it was so cold in our home (the temp outside had dipped way down from the 2nd to the 3rd of jan - on the 3rd it was 11 F) that we could see our breath. the kids were little icicles and cried. i was frantically trying to get the fire to heat at least one spot in the house. we made it through a very cold day and found out once graham got home that the pilot light had gone out. it went out again mysteriously, later on when he was back at the war college last night, but he was able to get it up and running. so now we are toasty in our home and have a new found appreciation for heating oil, for heat in general. it really made me pause and remember those who don't have the means to warm up their hands and feet. whose children live in constant bitter cold. it was a good reminder. life is so comfortable here. jesus what are you teaching me?


you'll see that we had fun despite the frigid temps by having a pizza party picnic in front of the fireplace. the kids had a good time!! yeah for rocco's our favorite pizza joint.