Monday, February 23, 2009

We have had visitors, and a glorious week break from E

So we had the newlyweds in town for Valentine's and such. They kiss a lot. We played a lot of Cataan. I won twice (Wahoo!) and we cooked a lot of delicious food. We made one venture out to the beach in between the episodes of rain. Here are some pics of the lovers, E almost splitting his head open chasing seagulls, E enjoying the barely warm enough to be at the beach, let alone in the ocean, weather, and E destroying someone else's castle:

The greatest part about having your sister come one weekend, and your inlaws come the next is....drum roll: THEY TAKE YOUR KID BACK TO WHERE HE CAME FROM FOR A WEEK!

So we celebrated our anniversary for five days instead of one. It was awesome. We went running together in the morning, out to eat at night, to California Adventure, hiking in Snow Canyon etc. And believe it or not, doing yoga is surprisingly easier without a little person tugging on your extended limb for a cup of milk; warrior three is so much easier to hold when someone isn't trying to push you over. I even went to the temple one day by myself, so that was nice. I didn't really do anything all that different during the day. I just did it a whole lot faster and more efficiently.

Oh E, I missed you greatly though. Our house was so boring and quiet without you. Yes, we did some very fun things and enjoyed ourselves immensely. But after about 48 hours, we wanted you back so that we could listen to you run incessantly up and down our hall in your bare feet. And poor Duane. He just sat there all despondent like all week. So thank you Mom, Chelsea and Natalie for the wonderful break but we are glad to have him back.

And this week we are doing the Disneyfest. Adam's family has set up camp in Newport (the inland empire is way too second rate, so we have to go visit them when they come to visit us...just kidding...kind of) so we are official annual Disney pass holders. Heaven help me. I don't know what everyone has been telling me about the Disneyland "off season." It was crowded today-a rainy Monday in February. And I felt like I was being hoarded into a concentration camp when I was trying to park my car in the Mickey and Friends parking structure. Mickey and Friends my eye. I'm just messing with you, Disneyland. We had fun today. And I am sure we will have fun all year. But mark my word, I refuse to wait in any stupid character lines. Fortunately, Eli has no idea who any of them are yet anyway so I am one step ahead of you.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Satisying your apparent need for pictures

This is how most of our meals end up: as a hat, as Eli so lovingly calls what is supposed to be dinner.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I'm so thankful to have NOT been born in Ethiopia

My good neighbor, Larry, asked me to write this article about his foundation; I think it is supposed to be published in one of the local newspapers-please feel free to point out any blatant errors:

One of the greatest benefits of belonging to a community united by a specific religion is just that: unity. Religion can bind people together, driving their purpose(s), creating miracles, and like any smart business, hone in on specific needs of a “market” to provide help for the helpless. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is world renowned for its ability and desire to give help to those in need.

In the process however, as different religions specialize in their own areas, gaps are created. In the market of providing essential medical care, the failure of churches to collaborate with one another can mean death for the citizens found in the gap. On the extremely positive flip side, when parochial organizations work together, countless lives are saved. Dr. Larry Thomas has figured out how to turn the principle of interfaith collaboration into a miraculous life saving machine by implementing such rudimentary tools as clean water and basic medical care for thousands of Ethiopian citizens.

Says Thomas, “Throughout Ethiopia, the only source of water for many families is a contaminated pond or stream. For others, their only source of water is from muddy puddles, aggravated by the dirt-covered hoof prints and feces of many different kinds of animals. Only one in three people in this country has access to safe water. Worse yet is the sobering fact that one Ethiopian child in ten dies before his or her fifth birthday—half of them from diarrhea.”

Moreover, the cultural practices of marrying young pre-pubescent girls to older men create devastating circumstances for childbirth: a physically immature girl attempting to give birth to baby with no trained professionals often leads to the death of the baby, which leads either to death of the mother, or sepsis; in the latter case, the young girls are often sent back to their families and forced into isolation because of their resulting foul odor and “uselessness” for further child bearing. In most cases, a c-section can prevent either dastardly consequence.

With heartbreaking scenarios like these, more than just mission trips, medical professionals and money are needed to save the lives of pregnant mothers and their children. Enter the Catholic Church. Dr. Thomas saw a great need for the constant attention that both nuns and priests in the area could-and were more than willing to-provide. They constantly monitor the basic needs of the members of the mission and, when necessary, direct them to Dr. Thomas’ no cost Gimbie Mission hospital.

So the Catholic church and the Seventh-day Adventist church are now working together, achieving amazing results in far off Ethiopia. And as a result, the partnership has spread all the way back to little Loma Linda. In a recent interview, Dr. Thomas says that a major source of support for his Ethiopian project comes from Loma Linda’s St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on Mountain View Avenue, the city’s only other church besides Seventh-day Adventists. He has made several presentations to the members at the invitation of Father Solomon who gives enthusiastic support for Dr. Thomas’ projects. “We not only have ties with our local Catholic friends,” says Thomas, “but we also partner with the church’s mission near the Gimbie Hospital in Ethiopia.”

Dr. Larry Thomas, who works as an emergency room doctor at the Hemet Valley Medical Center, organized the “Tropical Health Alliance Foundation” _ years ago. On his initial visit to Ethiopia, he quickly saw the need to provide pure water for residents in order to cut down the incidence of disease. For just US $2,500 he is able to construct a cemented area around a spring or stream that provides water for an entire village. He says that more than _____villages are now benefiting from his project.

Dr. Thomas first came up with his program when he was a post-graduate student in London’s School of Tropical Medicine. After his graduation in medicine at Loma Linda University School of Medicine, class of 1974, he decided to take this special post-graduate course. Part of his graduate work was a field trip to a needy place in Africa; he chose a Seventh-day Adventist rural medical facility in western Ethiopia. Over a period of___years he has been able to provide funding for European physicians attending the school in London to spend anywhere from a month to three months helping the medical needs of this small ___ bed hospital, thus providing a steady stream of care, making procedures like c-sections possible, preventing death or like unto it. The Catholic Church provides the managerial help, directing patients to the clinic and Dr. Thomas orchestrates the medical aide.

As a devout Seventh-day Adventist, Thomas is an excellent representative of his church. His paramount priority, however, is interfaith collaboration. The best take home message is not just the nice idea of a religiously motivated organization saving lives, but rather, that religions are working together, both here and abroad, to prevent easily preventable death. Says Thomas, “Parochialism kills people, collaboration saves lives!!!!!”

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Some good quotes

Last week I went down to Thousand Oaks and watched my aunt Stephanie's four darling girls. Had I not had Eli, it would have been a luxurious, enjoyable relaxacation. The girls are all very neat, tidy, disciplined, and well mannered which naturally inclined them to be greatly disturbed by my son's behavior:

The first day, cute little wise beyond her two years Caroline stared with disbelief as Eli doused himself in ketchup, managed to throw yogurt, and dump the undesirable food on the floor. The look on her face was of extreme disdain. I watched, smiling, as she tried to work out in her head how this was possible. And then she turned to me and said, "He is so dirty. We need to clean him up," as she hopped down from her perfectly clean chair and began to pick up the discarded hot hogs and juiced grapes. She is two.

Later that night as Eli moved efficiently from water cooler, creating a small pond in the kitchen, to entertainment center, disabling the TV audio, to washer and dryer, to bathroom toilet for more water games, to computer in the guest room, Sydney served willingly as my disaster cleanup specialist and looked at me imploring, "Is he always like this?"

They all took it upon themselves to inform me when he was pushing buttons on the dryer and climbing on the couch or stunk-which, frankly, in light of the circumstances, I was ok with...until some random man came knocking on the garage door asking if this baby in a stinky diaper who was wandering out in the neighborhood was mine. What do you say to that? Apparently he was not harmlessly pushing buttons in the laundry room which annexes to the garage...

Ok, one last good one. While bathing Eli, my faithful little companion Caroline remarked "He has a funny bum." Yes, Caroline. All boys do.

PS I am so happy that my brother and sister and brother in law are alive. They got in a horrible accident on I15 on Saturday. They aren't smart enough to go to the hospital to make sure that everything is all right, but so far so good. So anyway. Drive safely everyone because this can happen so easily.