Feb. 19: Everyone's a critic

Busy week. Between working--both at home and at the hospital--transporting children, rearranging rooms in our house, and coddling two still semi-sick kids, I'm exhausted. Vic probably is too, though I'm guessing. Our paths haven't crossed much in the last few days. I hate that. Next week is our anniversary (#8!), we're both taking a few days off work, and Katie and Jack will be at Grandma and Grandpa's.

I've made a few changes to the site, mostly to the cascading style sheet. If there's anything that looks really "off," please let me know. I didn't take the time to check every page.

Tried a new restaurant on Wednesday: Vitis Enoteca. Not your standard Italian fare but absolutely delicious. My salad was watercress, prosciutto, and pear--wonderful! The pizza I chose for my entree was prosciutto, potato, fresh mozzarella, and pesto on a thin crust. I had a fabulous dessert; a poached pear cored and filled with mascarpone, then drizzled with caramel. Ed's walnut popovers were tasty, and one of the main reasons I can hardly wait to eat there again. We also had antipasti, and Ed and Stefan shared some of their dishes with me too, so I feel well-qualified to highly recommend this place, especially if you enjoy wine. Dana, the owner/chef, is friendly and obviously very skilled. Vitis Enoteca is just over 405 from the Pearl. Go. NOW!

Olivia is being released from the hospital on Monday! Her body shows all signs of reproducing the cells from the transplant, so things are looking good. There's still a long way to go for them, and they'll stay at Duke for at least another few months. The silent auction and benefit dinner that was held in Enumclaw this month was a HUGE success! Read more detail in the journal Mark and Annalee have been writing on her web site (www.oliviaswish.com/), and please keep Olivia and her family in your hearts.

I just shake my head over why gay marriage is such a controversial issue. Besides the fact that it should be a religious issue, not a political one, it's simply unfair. Allowing gay couples to marry has NOT ONE EFFECT on me or my marriage. It changes nothing about my life. It takes nothing away from me. How could I be against it? love is love is love has some important and eye-opening info. If you've never given this issue much thought, please do.

Oh but wait, I'm not off my soapbox yet. I hate bad drivers, tomatoes, clowns, loud TV, and when people don't smash big hairy spiders. And I'm not too fond of poodles.

There, I'm done.

Katie, Jack, and Jonathan posed for some fun pictures the other day. Check them out. I'm sure there'll be more to come, because today Katie got four more outfits in the mail from Appie, and as soon as Jonathan sees them...

Vic and I had a decent Valentine's Day. He gave me a bouquet of flowers (gorgeous!) and I gave him a Starbucks gift card (yawners!). Darlene offered to watch Katie and Jack so Vic and I could go out for dinner that evening, which was such a treat. It was so last-minute, though, that we had no reservations and were too hungry to wait an hour for a table anywhere. We ended up at a quite desolate Burgerville. No matter, it was still nice to have a quiet meal together away from home and the hospital cafeteria. Besides, V-Day just isn't as big a deal for us because our anniversary is nine days later. Seems odd to make a huge thing of it when we'll be celebrating again so soon.

We're in the middle of our room transitions project in the house. What a lot of not very fun work. We've decided to keep the front room as a family room and subtly add some of our office furniture and stuff. If it doesn't work we'll do the bookcase divider thing. However, the upstairs room is still being converted to a playroom for Katie and Jack, and we've got tons yet to do in there. Our motivation is the lofty dream of toys and all the rest of the kids' stuff being on ONE floor. Having a place for everything. Being able to truly straighten/clean to make the house presentable.


Vitis Enoteca:

Olivia's Duke University medical team:

Opponents of gay marriage:

Kids giving me belly laughs:

Valentine's Day:
(I still love the holiday even if we don't celebrate much)

Mile-long to do lists:

People who visit manullang.com:

Feb. 10: I Need More Cowbell

New pictures from Katie's big day yesterday are on her Fifth Birthday page.

I was on my way out the door this morning when Katie and Jack both said they weren't feeling good. Since they'd been coughing for a couple days (but showed no other signs of illness) I thought maybe they were finally truly sick. I called Kristine to say I wouldn't be bringing them over, and the hospital folks to say I wouldn't be coming in to work, and within a half hour my "ailing" children were asking if they could play outside, or at McDonalds, or with neighbor kids. I said, "But I thought you were sick," to which my brilliant daughter replied, "I was, but I feel better now."

I tried to keep them busy at home but they weren't too interested in any of the super-fun activities I suggested: laying down, sitting quietly, resting, napping, dozing, being quiet so Mommy could do those things, etc. Who said kids are easy to please?

A fun web site to check out: PseudoDictionary. Click one of the letters on the light green bar along the top, or use the search box to find new and exciting words. Or, if you don't have time, just check out this goodie: Wanna go out or stay in? (Betcha never knew how to spell that one, hm?

Know what tastes yummy? Shasta Tiki Punch. Mmmmmmm...

Know what'll make you bounce off the walls? Shasta Tiki Punch and birthday cake. It's like drinking a Squishee made entirely of syrup. ("Let's go crazy Broadway-style!")


Feb. 7: Mid- Katie's Birthday Season

Well, I'm just mad. Some tiny little man has taken away all my fun. The Voss Family.

Mom and Len were here this past weekend. Mom and I got some rare shopping time, and Vic and I had a no-kids afternoon that we greatly enjoyed too. Mom made Katie a gorgeous princess dress for her birthday, complete with sparkly shoes and fun accessories (photo here). She loved prancing around and showing it off (um... to clarify: Katie pranced, my mom did not, though she would probably not turn down an opportunity if presented). A lot of Katie's birthday gifts fit into a dress-up theme: Darlene made her a bride ensemble, Appie is sending a very cool Disney princess costume trunk, her friend Eliza gave her beautiful wings, a tiara, and a magic wand, and we got her a fairy princess outfit and a chef uniform. She's also getting a 3-panel room divider with a mirror, hooks, and organizer boxes for keeping all her dress-up things in one place. Well, my plan is for it all to stay organized...

Katie's birthday party was yesterday--read all about it here. More celebrations are to come this next week. Wednesday is her actual birthday, and as if Daddy having the day off isn't special enough, she also is quite proud to get to choose where the four of us will have lunch. I'm betting/hoping it'll be "Passagetti" Factory--that's her favorite, and we think it's more than pretty okay too.

Valentine candy corn just isn't the same as the stuff at Halloween. Bleah.

We're about to make another major change in our house. Since it may not work for the long-term, we're trying to do it in a very temporary way so we can change it right back if we need to. We're thinking about moving the office to the front room downstairs and then making the upstairs room into the kids' playroom. We're so tired of the constant mess of toys up anddownstairs, and hope this will relieve some of that. To separate the two areas of the front room, we're looking at putting up a wall of bookcases. If it works and we like the arrangement, we'll probably make things more permanent and put in French doors to the office. If this move is successful you can be sure to find before-and-after photos on manullang.com.

Debi seems to have made it to Scotland in one piece. She said she's having fun, but that was before she'd tried driving. Yikes. I haven't heard much else and am anxiously awaiting more details.

Not that writing about Debi reminded me of this, but I watched "Mean Girls" last week. I think Tina Fey is hilarious, and this movie was pretty funny in parts, but it didn't have the charm of, say, "Clueless." I give it 2.5 stars out of 5.

And another movie theme that did not make me think of Debi... I watched one of last year's HBO films, "Normal," with Tom Wilkinson and Jessica Lange. Interesting. This guy decides, after 25 years of marriage, that he wants a sex-change operation. What makes it interesting is that his wife--after going through a predictable reaction to his announcement--actually accepts it and they continue to live together. I thought the movie said a lot about love: we find it where we find it.

I wanted to get Katie's party pictures posted, so it's just a quick update for now. I'll post the other pics and write again later this week.


Feb. 2: Heil Myself... Heil to Me...

Know what? I'm so darn smart I can barely stand myself.

Problem is, today my noggin just gave up. It's full. The "No Vacancy" light's blinking, and if I could think of any other metaphors I would. They say beer kills brain cells, and drugs kill brain cells, and TV kills brain cells. I know for a fact that thinking too much kills brain cells too. And it ain't as much fun as that other stuff neither.

Anyhoo, I can tell I've exhausted all intelligence because I can't think of anything to write and also because I said "anyhoo." But has that ever stopped me before? I think you know the answer to that one.

Today is Sean's birthday. It's hard to believe my nephew is already 15! Just kidding, I know he's actually 18. Yikes-a-hootie, I 'member before he was born. It's actually just as hard to believe he's 18 as it is that my sister has an 18-year-old kid! Geez, she must be really old, like FORTY.

And speaking of important birthdays, there's one coming up in our house too. Yessiree, Katie will be 5 years old next Wednesday. Her party--this year, classmates only--is Sunday afternoon. She can't stop talking about it. I can't stop stressing about it. It'll be fun, I'm sure, because our parties always are (I hear--I don't attend them all). One of the plans is for the kids to play "Hullabaloo," a kid game from those brainiacs at Cranium. If you haven't played it, you should--it's really fun, kind of a combo of Twister and I don't know what. Just trust me.

My little friend Olivia is doing very well post-transplant. Read Mark and Annalee's journal entries at Olivia's Wish. Warning: Jan. 30 will make you cry.

Well, it seems my blog has finally seen some action! This is quite exciting, though undoubtedly only to me. I liked that "Anonymous" made a worthwhile contribution as she always does, and was not surprised that Martin's entry was mostly just making fun of things I say. If he continues this pattern I might have to make use of that little garbage can icon underneath the comments... but not yet, I'm just so thrilled to know someone is actually checking in to manullang.com!

And Lori, the motherboard episode got me too--that was the turning point, when I went from sorta liking the show to really liking the show.

So now that you kids have checked in, it's only a matter of time until Kathy contributes, isn't it???

My friends Kristine and Michael just crack me right up. I want to share a couple of their recent e-mails with you, my Jenketeers (The Onion reference... I promise, it'll never happen again):

Yummy Chinese Food!

And y'know how your monitor can get so grimy? Here's a little help getting it polished up: Mr. Clean

In the ancient words of the ever-eloquent Taylor Lassen, "No more words."



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