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Archive for January, 2011

Jan 31 2011


Posted by Mugs @ 12:31 pm in Family

Years ago, when Dale was stationed in Korea without us and the oldest three kids and I lived in my parents basement, we would take our dog, Czar, for a walk down the dirt road. I would let him run free under the delusion that there were occasions (at most three) when he would come back when called. He was a Siberian husky and therefore a literal pain to walk. He was bred to pull a sled and if what was connected to the other end of the leash was not a sled than too bad…it was getting pulled.

I was dragged along for years and years and years…if only I could forget those years.

That day, Czar was running loose and the kids and I were trailing behind. Gabe was 3 at the time. When suddenly, a large neighbor dog came bolting down his driveway snarling and snapping. Soon the dogs were at each others throats. Before I could react, Gabe picked up a stick, held it high over his head and yelled “FIGHT!” and ran towards the two fighting dogs.

Thankfully, his three year old legs were not yet faster than mine and I caught him before he got there.

The same instinct to pick up a stick and fight often rises up in me as well.

The kids were off school two days last week, first for an ice storm and then for a snow storm. After the first storm, Gabe and Josiah went outside to have a snow ball fight. Unfortunately, it should be more accurately termed an ice ball fight.

Josiah’s arm is usually not that accurate, but on this occasion he hurled an iceball at Gabe that hit him smack in the mouth and busted open his lip. Gabe dropped to the ground like a stone.  Of course, this action inspired Josiah to run up and finish him off.

Meanwhile, I am on the porch, yelling at Gabe to get up and finish the fight. (I had no idea how bad he was hurt, and I know I have no excuse for my actions). I was simply caught up in the battle and knew from experience and training that you never just lay there. Unless you are unconscious or paralyzed, you fight or flee.

I usually choose fight.

Mother of the Year award…Gone in the first month.

Jan 28 2011

The Missing Slippers

Posted by Mugs @ 3:00 pm in Family

Dale’s feet were cold and the location of his slippers was a mystery to him. The location of many things in our house often becomes unknown. This may be a result of the disorderly chaos we live in and amongst. I had always thought that living in a messy house had to be the only reason things could go missing until I talked to a friend of Abby’s. He informed me that his mom’s relentless straightening of things to make them look better also results in the unintentional disappearance of many items.

Since there has been no relentless straightening around here (even though I swore there would be), I figured Dale’s slippers were lost in the chaos. Frustrated at not being able to find his slippers, Dale told Zeke, “I’ll give you a dollar if you find my slippers for me.”

I was typing at the computer, and spotted one slipper under the printer table. I called Zeke over and pointed it out. One down, one to go. Zeke scrambled around the house to all the locations I told him to look: under the couches, in the closet, under the bed, etc. He looked and looked and could not find the missing slipper anywhere.

Meanwhile, Gabe was chomping at the bit to get in on the money making endeavor. I told him he had to wait until Zeke had ample time to look. Finally, after Zeke had more than ten minutes of looking, Dale released Gabe into the hunt.

Zeke, knowing his time was running short, ran to Abby for assistance and asked her to look also. He then whispered to her:

“Abby, if you find it, tell me very quietly.”

Jan 27 2011

Hidden Plans

Posted by Mugs @ 8:40 pm in Devotional

By Mugs Manry

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28 (NIV)

“The neighbor just ran her car into the tree in our front yard. What do I do?” my eldest son, in a harried voice, asked me over the phone. He had been left at home to baby sit his siblings. I responded with questions, “Were the kids in the car with her? Is everyone alright? Was it the Cherry?” Afterwards, I can never fully explain why I say and do certain things during a crisis. My neighbor and her children are a million times more important than my cherry tree. I know this. However, during crisis, correct perspective often eludes me.


Jan 22 2011

Baltimore Aquarium Sights and Sounds

Posted by Dale @ 2:18 pm in Uncategorized

The Big Splash:

The Oohs and Ahs:

Memories of Hanauma Bay:

Jan 21 2011

Baltimore Aquarium

Posted by Mugs @ 10:09 am in Family,Nature,Sightseeing

We all had the day off on Monday and decided a little local sightseeing was in order. Baltimore is just 1 hour 40 minutes away with no traffic via the HOV lane. Therefore, on Monday I considered it local. On most other days, I would consider it in another state.

With all the federal workers off for the holiday, the roads around D.C. were surprisingly clear and we were grateful to be able to zip up and back. The National Aquarium came highly recommended (cost being its only drawback) by a number of friends.

We had driven through Baltimore before, but never into it. I was surprised at how much I liked the National Harbor area. Many old brick industry buildings have been refurbished into shops and restaurants, there were streetcars, ships and submarines, and you could walk to the baseball and football stadiums.

As we were buying our tickets, an announcement came over the intercom that Steeler fans would not be allowed into the aquarium that day. The announcer than said, “Actually, I’m kidding. You just have to pay double.” Gabe loved that joke and we all laughed.

To our surprise, the aquarium housed more than fish. After arriving, we wandered upwards into the Australia exhibit and saw the birds that used to sit on our back deck and the lizards that used to sun themselves on our garden wall. We left the exhibit feeling a bit homesick although we are thankful that our yard is no longer filled with all those  spiky plants.

After the Australia exhibit, we passed a location teeming with toddlers: the bubble tubes. The tubes of bubbly blue water were immensely fascinating to all under the age of 4. Their parents could not pull them away without incurring a major meltdown.

Everywhere we went, there were toddlers and babies with their stressed out, exhausted parents lugging them about in backpacks, front carriers, and on their shoulders. I saw moms nursing their babies on out of the way couches, moms changing diapers while their newborns cried the pitiless weak cry that long ago sounded so loud to me, and moms trying to convince their four year old that his legs were perfectly capable of still walking no matter how tired he had become.

I would occasionally glance over at my children trooping along without complaint and think, “Am I really done with all that? It seems that was my lot in life just minutes ago.” Have no fear…I did not approach a haggard mother and tell her to “enjoy each moment she had, because it goes by so quickly”. If I had said anything, it would have been, “Sister, I feel your pain. I have been there and I have survived…you will too.”

Next, we traveled up 4 escalators looking from all levels at a giant aquarium of sharks, stingrays, and one sea turtle. The turtle was rescued after it was found injured. One flipper had to be removed and the rescuers were unsure if it would recover, but it did. I did manage to get a picture of the turtle, but most of my other fish photos did not turn out because of the lighting.

There were different aquariums on each floor full of coral, anemones, sea horses, crabs, and fish from all the seas. Of course, my favorite display was the pacific coral reef. As I looked at it, I thought fondly of Hanauma Bay in Hawaii and the many times I snorkeled there. God’s creation under the sea is so amazing to me.

At the top of the glass building was a rain forest exhibit full of colorful birds, snakes, and frogs. The frogs were so brightly colored it was difficult to believe they were real. The kids enjoyed finding them hiding in the foliage.

When you exit the greenhouse, there is a circular ramp leading down the middle of the 4 levels of the shark and ray aquarium. You are surrounded by swimming creatures as you spiral down. It is a unique layout.

We then crossed an enclosed pier to attend the dolphin show. Prior to the start of the show, the announcer informs everyone that if you don’t want to get wet, don’t sit in the first three rows. I sat happily up top to keep myself dry and enjoy the view. Dale and the kids ran down to the first row. The show was fun to watch and as hoped for, I stayed dry and they got wet.

Why are all dolphin trainers women? Just wondering.

The final aquarium gallery was the Jellies Invasion. The Jelly Fish were cool to watch. I liked the little teeny baby jelly fish the best. They were being moved along by the current, but kept trying to go their own way.

Not that different from my own children, really.