Sunday, July 26, 2009

Westward Ho!

Most of us are leaving within 40 minutes for a loooooooooong drive to the Navajo reservation in New Mexico where we will have a Vacation Bible School for the children and help with service projects along with our youth group! Prayer for this great adventure would be so appreciated! Stay tuned for glimpses of our journey....

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Duggar Papparazzi

My friend Patty, who could have a reality show of her own, introduced us to another one of my she-roes, Michelle Duggar and some of her children. Patty and her husband have many many children, some they've birthed and some they have adopted. Our I. once mistook them for the Duggars because their family is so large. In church this morning I had to shush him and stop him from staring at the family sitting behind Patty's. Again he said it was the Duggars. I impatiently chided him that not every large family is the Duggars and to pay attention to the sermon. Ooops. It really was the Duggars.

I thanked Michelle for her encouraging example as a mom and my friend Cynthia mentioned that Michelle's cheerful countenance never seems to change, regardless of the situation. Now THAT is worth emulating. I think I'll try it tomorrow and see if I can make it throught the morning cheerfully.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

All A-Twitter

The other night at the Sanctus Real concert I was telling a couple of young friends who were so impressed with my backstage-accessing abilities that the photo would appear on my really lame blog as soon as I got a minute to upload it. It shocks some people of that generation that I have no desire to have a Facebook or get on Twitter. A few have even taken it as a personal challenge to bring me into those realities and it may just be a matter of time before they succeed.
Those young'uns really have no idea how unworthy of journaling much of my daily routine is. Here is a sample of the goings-on thus far this morning:

Sometime before 7AM:
Scratch The Banker's back
- reach for my glasses
-stumble to the laundry and toss a load in
-go to the third floor to search for The Banker's t-shirts which must have been delivered with someone else's laundry to the wrong room
- go down to the kitchen to set up tea water
-carry stuff downstairs on the way
-let Sadie the dog outside
-open the dishwasher to empty it
- realize that the dishwasher failed to run in the night and reset it
-let Sadie back in
-carry stuff on stairs up
- talk to the Banker about who should/should not go to camp this summer
-carry stuff on stairs down
-take out some breakfast
- visit with our paint guy for a few minutes and threaten to cry if some of the Pink Victorian's aging coat is not properly cared for
- the threat works and he will bring his guy around to discuss the matter
- notice the clogged powder room toilet
-stop on the way up to get the plunger to give an empassioned lecture on bicycle helmet safety to the 14 year old
- he concedes
-carry stuff upstairs
-get plunger
- carry stuff downstairs
-plunge toilet
-who DID this???
- wake up more people with sweet voice and back-scratching
- no response
- dire warnings to GET UP!!
- get my salad and iced tea and go to desk
- mental note to vaccuum soon
- quick prayer
- pullout the bills
- bring up the emails
-girlfriend engaged!!!
-Praise Be!
- determine not to get overwhelmed by all there is to get done
- Read the book of Judges chapter 5
- a couple of my favorite Bible chicks there
- Deborah and Jael
- gutsy mamas for God-
-Deborah was looking out for willing volunteers- Preach it Girl!
-Jael did the messy but necessary thing that only she could/would do
-mental note to disinfect the plunger
- Poor Sisera's mama
- Expecting great things of her boy-
-"March on my soul, be strong!"
- pray some more
- snuggle the half awake 4 year old who wields the guilts by asking "Remember Mommy when I was 3 and you made me pancakes EVERYDAY?"
- low blow
- pray some more
- off to find the pancake mix
- 8:18 AM.

Really Abby, does this have Twit potential?
Enjoy your wonderful beautiful everyday life! Wouldn't trade mine.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Destination Reservation

Click HERE to get to the blog which will follow the preparations for our planned trip to the Navajo reservation in New Mexico in August. So many details need to be worked out and some daunting obstacles must be overcome....all prayer is much appreciated.
We have been invited to bring a Vacation Bible School program to the children there as well as in a small town nearby. Imagine taking 40+ students to an unfamiliar place, to serve an undetermined number of children in an uncertain location with finances that are not quite in place yet. Sounds like a God Show in the making to me!

You Did What!!! Part 2

Once again I talked my way backstage to meet another of my kids' favorite bands, much to their chagrine/delight/embarrassment! This time a photo op with Sanctus Real. Oh how I needed to hear their song, "We Need Each Other" tonight.

And I. was happy to meet Josh Sundquist after the concert. Great guy...have to get reading his book, "A Leg Up".

Stay tuned to this space for a bunch of updates and some very good excuses for the 2 month bloggy lull. Off to bed! Monday's coming!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A quick trip to DC for a conference lead to an invitation to meet with Congressman Frank Lobiondo at his office and a staff-guided tour of the Capitol Building. That should serve as our history curriculum for this week, I'd say!

We were escorted through the security checkpoints and the tunnels that connect the offices and the Capitol itself. No sign of Jack Bauer, though. Once again the matching navy Land's End blazers proved to be an excellent wardrobe investment. We own them in a range of sizes and have pulled them out of the closet for short-notice special occasions with remarkable frequency.

Had to catch these great poses of the boys admiring the interior of the Capitol dome. We were definitely outnumbered by a flock of red-hatters in the rotunda. They are just adorable and are probably a political force in their own right!



Monday, March 30, 2009

Thank You!!

I am so grateful to EVERYONE who responded to the questions in the last post, either in "comments" or via email. Your thoughts were fascinating and articulated so clearly the heavy burdens placed on women in our culture...hmmm..or do we place them upon ourselves? It's all very complicated and I hope to share some of the similar themes that came through in a future post once I have digested it all.
Little Luddy is the winner of the book, "Feathers from My Nest" by Beth Moore. consolation prizes will be given to those who are at MOPS this Thursday! Here is a sneak preview...Birdie slaved over the ModPodge for hours helping me get them glued up before I take off for a little field trip with the wee men tomorrow. In case you were wondering how long it takes to decoupage 50 one-gallon paint cans: 9 hours. Ridiculous, but they are so adorable. I'll post a pic of the finished product once we add the mini pompom fringe and vintage Easter tags. Oh, and the vintage tinsel garland and grosgrain ribbons. Visually delicious. They are inspired by a little can I saw at Blissful Living Studio. (scroll back to the Phoenix posts)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Just a Few Minutes

Hi There Bloggy Friends- I need to enlist the help of as many of you and your friends as possible, if you don't mind....but even if you do mind, I need to ask anyway. I will be speaking to our local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group in a couple of weeks and in preparation I need to get inside the heads and hearts of as many women as possible...a survey of sorts.
So please take just a few minutes to leave your responses to these 3 easy questions in my "comments" and then take a few more minutes to beg all of your friends to do the same for A) The sake of scientific research into the female psyche, and B) for the chance of receiving a giveaway of Beth Moore's "Feathers From My Nest" . Hey, we all love to support scientific research, and you can't beat a free and very re-giftable book.
So here goes, choose one (realistically) or all (overachiever) of these 3 easy questions:
#1- In your opinion, what is the most difficult thing about being a woman?
#2- Please describe a way in which you have surprised yourself in regard to
what you are or do related to what you once were or did.
#3-What skill or attribute do you intend to develop in the next 5 years? Extra
credit if you can describe the plan you have to accomplish that.
Be as silly or as serious as you like, but please be real. In one week I will randomly draw one commentor's name and ship you your book and the box of tissues you will need to go with it.
Thank you bloggy friends! Pass It On!

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Spring has sprung and so has much of our canine's hair. The spring shed is our girl's one and only fault. After much thought, I have determined that it is not an act of cruelty to vaccuum a dog who does not mind it...much.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I do believe the scriptures say that He is building me a mansion in glory. Not to be presumptuous, but I would not mind if mine was something like 503 Chapel Rd., Sedona, AZ.

And maybe HE could be my next door neighbor. We may have driven each other crazy by then. Thus the His and Hers mansions. His will be a moss-covered Irish castle with dark wooden paneling throughout.

God's grace and good chemistry.

Aunt Susan's Narcotics

Some people do drugs. Our Aunt Susan does Sedona.(see previous posts)

These pictures should knock the bronchitis right out of her. FDA approved, I'm sure.

We felt a certain obligation to pay a visit to Fiona at Garland's Indian Jewelry on her behalf. Did my part to stimulate the local economy.

Domestic Bliss

And THEN we followed our handy-dandy map over to Main St. in Mesa to a place I had found through bloggy connections...Domestic Bliss. This place is practically edible. Not just another crafts boutique, though. How often I have visited such places and thought, oh I could make that myself, if only I had the time...and the materials, and the talent. Get this: Domestic Bliss the boutique is adjacent to Blissful Living Studio, which is an adorable workshop where you can register to attend classes for everything from vintage aprons to blog embellishment. Membership is available, or you can choose classes a la carte. Their site has a marvelous blog of its own with links to their instructors' blogs. Check it out!

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Heard Museum

The Heard Museum is amazing. Hall after hall of Native American artwork. Testimonials that are almost too heartbreaking to bear. More tribes than I had ever known of. And where was I when the Indian Schools were mentioned in history class? I think they were mysteriously omitted in our textbooks. Let's move on. I feel a homeschooling rant coming on.

All of this was perfect inspiration for the trip that the kids and I are going on with a church group to a reservation in New Mexico this August. We hope to serve the people there, learn about their lives and beliefs, and earn the privilege of sharing ours. As an aside, we appreciate any prayers for the many resources and finances that need to be gathered for this adventure. We will be shipping a week's worth of teaching materials and crafts to presented to children in various venues and may not have much advance notice of exactly where we will be and how many children might attend. Lots of logistical and training matters need tending to between now and then.

Can't wait to see it all come together!

In the Heard Museum shop I couldn't resist an out-of-print book entitled "Presbyterian Attitudes Toward The Native Americans:18__-1879." A little light reading may or may not be applicable...I'll let you know!

Meanwhile, M. had a blast spending every penny of his remaining birthday money on a talking stick, a mallet, a t-shirt, and some books. He wanted this sheep for his big sis the sheep freak, but acknowledged that it wouldn't squeeze into his suitcase.

The Phoenix Zoo

M.'s favorite place for sure.
Up close with the monkeys!

So blessed to spend a day with this sweet boy. He talked at length and with an air of authority about every animal in sight and at times laughed out loud at himself. I'm not even sure that he needed me there other than to pay for the camel ride, but it was fun to tag along.

Color Fix

The Banker was off to his meetings to do what bankers do, and M and I zipped off to the Phoenix Botanical Gardens. So nice of them to arrange to have an exhibit of my favorite glass artist, Dale Chihuly's work set throughout the gardens. Could not believe it. Too perfect to be coincidence. Where did I just hear the quote that coincidence is simply when God chooses to remain anonymous? Delightful.

On Our Way

We did make it through security after all! It takes a village for us to get away without all of the kids. No less than 10 of our friends looked after the kiddoes at some point during our trip. We have great friends- thanks everybody!
Once we arrived at the airport, we settled in with breakfast and had a little visit with Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell who shared our flight on his way to the NBA championship game. A great flight, in spite of the fact that the battery on M's dvd player failed to charge the night before. The novelty of cloud-watching satisfied him for most of the trip. That, and a soda from the flight attendant's cart.

Before posting our time in Phoenix, I have to introduce another
Susan. She is Aunt Susan to most of us here at the Pink Victorian and she is one of a kind. She and Uncle Paul live in the Northeast but are meant to be somewhere in the Southwest...New Mexico, maybe Sedona. She is regularly decorated with her collection of exquisite Native American jewelry, and the exterior of her townhouse should be coated in adobe to compliment the interior and she is also perfectly comfortable visiting with a nephew's bearded dragon; another desert dweller. She makes routine pilgrimages to the West, but is in need of a good dose of red rock and sunshine after a challenging Yankee winter and a nasty bout of bronchitis. Thus the ABUNDANT vacation photos to follow.

M. used every bit of his b-day check from Uncle Paul and Aunt Susan at the gift shop of the Heard Museum in Phoenix. She must be very pleased. Thanks Aunt Susan! Hope the vicarious vacation does your heart good.

Wild Goose Chase

It was a brilliant idea. Or it would have been. We were wanting to do something creative this Valentines Day for a set of Floridian grandparents who abandon us for sunnier climes each autumn and return in the spring when the weather here is more to their liking. Snowbirds. A few days before the holiday we were on our way home from piano lessons and passed a field covered with at least a thousand large, white snow geese making a migratory pit stop. We hurried home for the camera, quickly cut out red paper hearts for the boys to hold up in front of the massive flock. I would snap the clever pose and post it with the caption "We Love Snowbirds!". Problem. In the brief time that it took us to fetch our props, the entire bunch of birds vanished. Gone. I'm talking about a thousand birds or more. We drove around thinking they must be SOMEWHERE nearby, but not a snow goose was to be found. What we did find was a pitiful scraggly flock of winter starved turkeys. If you squint, you can see that a couple of them were even attempting to mate. No snowbirds, just passionate turkeys. We tried.

We Love Snowbirds!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Eek!! I really have neglected the poor blog! I'm hoping to do a quick catch-up before another little hiatus while I am in Phoenix next week. It's been the busiest January we've had in a few years.

M. has already packed his little suitcase in anticipation of his flight west. I think Homeland Security might object to the plastic rifle butt sticking out of his carry-on. And he packed more clothing for his Build-A-Bear puppy dog than he did for himself. His other must-haves? A bathing suit and his favorite pj's. We're off to the convenience store for the main reason he loves to fly: bubblegum!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Penny Saved $$$


I recently discovered a couple of really good sites by women with financial savvy that are worth mentioning: has frequently-posted shopping hints and coupon codes. I saved a lot on a big order at Coldwater Creek last month, thanks to her.


I also like This blog by author Ellie Kay looks like it has more practical financial planning insights than many I've seen.

Get Saving!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Into the Fray

To this point this has been a benign little blog primarily about comings and goings at The Pink Victorian. I have avoided political controversy and tempered my parenting ideals with reality. Today I will cautiously raise a topic for discussion which is apparently a very volatile matter, for the sake of gaining understanding and becoming a better peacemaker. To protect the children involved, I will call it the
Organic Oatmeal Issue.
Let me explain:
The holiday season was peppered with citations by my contacts, which are many, and of multiple generations, that Christmas gift-giving and receiving has become more manipulative than loving, especially when the recipients are young children. Instead of a gift being a surprise for all present during its unwrapping, lengthy negotiations are held long before the day about the acceptability of the gift or oblique threats are made that certain forbidden items might be revealed at the foot of the tree just for spite.
For example, a grandparent receives notice that only unpainted toys are to be given to the grandchildren, presumably to eliminate the risk of lead paint; or a father-in-law hints that he is wrapping a cap gun for little Jimmy for the sake of his developing manhood, fully knowing that Daddy and Mommy don't intend for Jimmy to play with artificial firearms. Power Rangers dvds are given to children who don't watch TV and parents retaliate by enforcing their ban on red dye #40, only to have Christmas M&M's added to their organic get the idea.
I am curious. Is it just me or has gift giving become territorial? What do you think? Are parents at the mercy of the mandates of Christmas Morning Magic and impotent to confiscate the contraband? Are they asserting their rules and convictions out of a sense of insecurity in breaking away from the ways of their upbringing? Is this a subtle rebellion with the offspring being used as weapons? Are grandparents today of the mistaken notion that they are co-parents with equal jurisdiction over the kiddoes? Have parents abused the luxury of the innate quality low-cost childcare to the point that the lines between parent and child have been blurred? Do they fail to "leave and cleave"? Are the grandparents just so limited in quality time and desparate to be the "favorite" that they are willing to undermine the authority of the parents? Do they feel unappreciated for all that they feel they have already given? And perhaps most importantly, have we become so child-centered that little Jimmy's Christmas morning bliss is the objective and pinnacle of the holiday season? I am curious.
What are the potential solutions to this problem which lies dormant year-round but is one more thing that internally threatens the family, which is already under seige from external forces?
What say you?

****DISCLAIMER: I reiterate that this post is strictly for informational and discussion purposes. Let's keep it clean, folks. And please know that I can only speak of other families' challenges vicariously because my children and their cousins have four utterly perfect grandparents who would never, say, let a 2 year old watch STAR WARS because, well, he wanted to. I'm just sayin'.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

NoHo Field Trip Part 3: M&J Trims and Times Square

Off to M&J Trims in the garment district to get some edging for Isabelle's bib. They have EV-ER-Y-THING for trimming and handbag hardware, millinery doo-dads, tassels and ribbons. Overwhelming. Completely overwhelming.

An obligatory stop at the Apple store. One of each please.

Shopping for finger puppets for another cousin from a street vendor. A silly dispute over which was Yoda and which was Shrek. I wanted neither, but some days these kiddoes can argue over ANYTHING! We bought a generic monkey for Cousin and moved on.

S. Coveting some running shoes at the Adidas store.

When we said we were leaving SoHo (derived from SOuth of HOuston) someone asked, "Now where? NoHo??." Logical. There must be something north of Houston.
Love that.

NoHo Field Trip Part 2: NYC Library

Between The Lions.

The Reading Room.
And after that we took a brisk walk to The Times Square Toys'R'Us Store with its ferris wheel and mobs of shoppers for a mini-shopping spree with Christmas money. Followed by a mild panic attack for Mommy...M. doesn't like to hold hands much and well, it is Times Square. Clearly not designed with a family of 7 in mind. Easy for a maternal imagination to migrate from a released hand-hold to a lost child to human trafficking. Perfectly legitimate concerns. A ride on Daddy's shoulders-the best solution.
Time for a relaxing dinner in the back room at The Heartland Brewery. Bellies filled, we joined the line of cars in the Lincoln Tunnel headed to the more sedate life of South Jersey. NYC...a nice place to visit...