Friday, October 30, 2009

Creepy Crawly

A couple mornings ago, I walked into the kitchen after taking the kids to school and Jason said, "Hey babe, I have a surprise for you." That man 'o mine! He's brought me flowers a few times lately, so I thought maybe he'd done it again. I smiled. "What is it?" "Look over there," he pointed to the kitchen counter. Where I saw this.

(Dramatic Pause.)

Isn't that just precious? Now before you totally wig out, let me show you another picture to give it some scale.
This, my pretties, is the Black House Spider. The fact sheet I looked up online says that it's "poisonous but not lethal". If they do bite, it hurts and can cause nausea and "giddiness". (Actually, we could use a little more giddiness around here.) They are apparently timid spiders. I guess that means they're shy, but really nice once you get to know them.

Where did we find it, you ask? That morning, while I did the school run, Jason offered to take my car and put petrol* in it for me. Cause when I leave to go somewhere with the kids, I'm usually running late and if I have to stop then I'm even more later and stuff. So with Grace in tow, he goes to the station, fills up the car. While driving back, he feels something crawling on his neck.

This is the point in the story where I involuntarily shivered. "Did you totally freak out?" I asked. "No," he says looking at me like I'm crazy. "I took it and threw it across the car, and then looked at it when we got home. I'm almost positive it's dead. I saved it cause I thought you might wanna blog about it."

There. Do you see that? In his moment of crisis, facing possible death or dismemberment, or at least loss of bladder control, he thought of you, bloggy friends. Do you see now why I love him so?

We think that maybe it was on the outside of the car, and then when he was leaning in to put Grace in her seat, it got on him. Creepy, eh? So after this little story, I thanked God for two things. One, that it didn't land on Grace! And two, that it wasn't me driving the car with a spider on my neck. Cause I woulda totally spazzed out. Oops--I also thanked God that it didn't bite Jason. My hubby, however, has the strength of ten men, so I'm sure the spider's bite wouldn't have effected him the way it would normal humans. He gets his super strength from our yellow sun, you see.

This has been another installment of Creepy and/or Interesting Creatures We See Around These Parts. (I really need to think of a better title.) Anyhoo, if you're just joining us here at MDU, you can see more spiders here and here. And you'll want to click on parts one and two of the "lizard that got loose in our house" story. Oh--and here's some nice birds to make you feel better.

Have a lovely, non-creepified day! Mwaahahahaaa!

*That's "gas" to my American readers. Y'all see how assimilated to the culture I am?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Someone's *Official*!

Despite all my griping about all the paperwork required, Grace's appointment at the US Consulate went very smoothly. And you wanna know why? Cause a certain someone had done all her homework and showed up with all the applications and the pile of supporting documentation required. Thank you. I like to think that the guy who helped us was impressed with my organization and charm.

Have you ever been in a situation, where although you're with strangers, you share a common characteristic that causes you to feel a sense of kinship with them? (That is a terrible sentence.) That's how I feel when I go to the Consulate. Once we got through the fairly tight security, we walked in and I wanted to be all, "Whasssup, Ameri-CANS!!!" I was gonna go down the line of clerks and give everyone high-fives, but they were behind glass. So I didn't. It's like I think a consulate should provide entertainment for citizens. Shouldn't I be able to drop in anytime and play ping pong or something? Or watch American Idol? I was smiling at everyone and saying hi, thinking that they might feel the same way. I don't think they did. Is it even possible that not everyone in there wanted to get to know me? How could that be so?

Nevertheless they were very courteous and efficient and bada-bing! Exactly one week to the day later, guess what came in the mail?

Our girl has her passport in hand, ready for a whirlwind of globe-trotting adventures! And now that she's recognized as an American, I will start passing down some cultural gifts to her: a love for freedom, justice, reality TV and free refills. Actually, she already has that last one handled!

Isn't it funny to see a baby's face on a passport? I didn't get a passport until I was 17. My parents were years into adulthood before they needed one. I wonder when my grandchildren will get theirs. Do they give travel documents to zygotes?

I better run...all three kids are disgruntled and puny feeling today. Nate and Ava have slight fevers, and Grace got her 4 month immunizations today. Ava keeps moaning from the couch, "Whyyy is this happening to me?" I can't imagine where she gets the drama from.

I am hoping to post a cookie redemption story soon...maybe I'll take another crack at it tomorrow. Will keep you posted...har har har. Pun TOTALLY intended.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Kids Giving Me Lip. The Unibrow of Cookies. And Disco Pics!

Nate's preschool disco on Saturday was a rousing success! Let me tell you, if you've never seen 50 3 and 4 year olds boogie down on the dance floor...well, then you've never seen it. Nate had been practicing what he called his "booty dance" for a week, but got pretty shy once we got there. We did get a few moves out of him, though:

(Oh--sorry for the crap-tastic nature of these photos. 'Twas dark in there and I was using the camera on my phone. And it was dark. And I was dazzled by the flashing lights.)

Even though his preschool mates weren't treated to the full glory of Nate's booty dance, I think he had a good time. He certainly liked the tambourine.

I couldn't get him to smile at me. He was like, "Mother, I am attempting a complicated syncopation to 'YMCA'. I have no time for pleasantries. Let me work." I have never seen someone shake a tambourine so solemnly! But the best part was when the DJ played the "Bob the Builder" theme song. Hello, hilarious! How many club scenes feature that song? I was outside the building at that point, and I could hear the DJ yell into the mic, "Can we fix it?" And all the kids shouted as one, "YES WE CAN!" And then the party got crrrazy. I think I woulda gone clubbing more in my younger years if it had been more like that! Lord, I love this age.

Ava had a friend from her class over to play yesterday. She is a sweet little girl, but a bit quirky. All year she has been asking me if she can come over to play at our house, and I keep saying, "Have your mom call me and we'll set it up." Sometimes she would cry. It was all getting a bit sad. So a few weeks ago, I finally met the mom and set something up. I think this little girl is a bit lonely.

We got to the house and Jason was here. He said hi to her, and she said, "Is that Ava's dad?" I said yes, it was. She said, "Oh. My dad doesn't live at our house. But I see him at my Nana's." Jason and I looked at each other and I said, "Yes, some moms and dads don't live in the same house. I bet your dad loves when he gets to see you!"

Later, the girls were playing in Ava's room with the door closed. I am a bit of what Becky calls a "helicopter parent"--I can tend to hover a bit, especially when I don't know the other child well. So I went to check on them. I knocked on the door, and then opened it and said, "Hi! How's it going, girls?" They were playing dress-up. Ava's little friend came to the door and said, "Um, can you not annoy us? We're playing right now." I am totally serious! I laughed and said, "Sweetie, I'm the mom. That means I get to open the door anytime I want to." "Oh," she said, "Okay."

It's been a rainy few days here in Sydney. This afternoon I had the brilliant idea that the kids and I would make some pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies and decorate them. Because as I've talked about before, I am a culinary genius.

Well, I am not prepared to comment on the outcome. But it did not go well. I think it had something to do with the kind of flour I used. Some might say the dough was too sticky. Mistakes were made. Fingers were pointed. And as we watched the shapeless, blobby, ginorma-cookie baking in the oven, Nate looked at me and said, "This is a bad day!"

Can we bake it? Um, no. Apparently we can't.

You know in The Wrath of Khan, when Captain Kirk screams, "KHAAAAANNNN!", shaking his fist and all? (Instead of going clubbing in my younger years, I watched Star Trek. I am awesome, you see.)

That was me tonight, "COOOOKIEEE!" I will not be beaten. Except maybe I will be. A little bit.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Big Day at our place

Thanks for your suggestions regarding my recent paperwork dilemma. Our appointment at the consulate went very smoothly, and Grace is well on her way to being a US citizen. Boo-yah! I'll fill you in more on that later.

This morning I attended a Pink Ribbon Breakfast for breast cancer awareness and fundraising. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month in Oz, and my neighbor co-hosted a breakfast at a local restaurant. It was really nice to meet some other women from our neighborhood. As I've mentioned before, due to the fact that we're new to this city and don't have the same familial and relational connections that most people here have, I really enjoy opportunities to connect with people around here. To me, that's one of the biggest perks to having Ava enrolled in our local school. It's one of several touchpoints that I now have with the community. And y'all, I am a woman of the people. I like to get out there, shake hands, kiss babies--the whole deal.

Plus, the breakfast was for a great and relevant cause. Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women! Yowza. I was touched and impressed to see the breast cancer survivors that were there this morning and glad to be just a small part of giving towards a cure.

But the real fun--for the kids, at least--was the pink helium balloons I brought home. A few weeks ago, Jason and I introduced them them to the joys of sucking in helium and talking with a funny voice. Some people play Mozart to their kids or read Shakespeare. We teach ours to tell knock-knock jokes an octave higher than normal. I'm sure this will help them get into college one day.

I think we laugh as hard as they do. And I've done your work for you by discovering that *the funniest* sentence you can say with a helium-enriched voice is a line from the movie Elf: "Hey Buddy, wanna look for snow berries?" It kills 'em every time!

I'm off now to help set up for Nate's preschool Disco that is happening in about an hour. C'mon, party people! Ain't no disco like a preschool disco, cause a preschool disco don't stop! As the esteemed chairperson of the Parent Committee, I will have many important and challenging duties. Such as: handing out glow bracelets and taking out the rubbish at the end.

Have a great day! Maybe you can track down some helium.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Estimated Response Burden: Foreverrrrrr

I am mired deep in paperwork and need to take a break. The choice was to either: bang my head repeatedly against the brick wall in my kitchen, or blog. And I chose you, Internet pals. Because when it comes down to you or a head injury, you will win EVERY TIME. That is my promise to you.

Tomorrow morning we have an appointment at the US Consulate in Sydney to apply for a passport and Social Security Card for Grace, and to register her as an American citizen. I am now filling out the "Consular Report of Birth Abroad" form. There are two things about this that are making me a little mental. One, is that they are calling Grace "a broad". A chick? Okay. A flibbertigibbet? Most certainly. But not a broad. I find that offensive and inappropriate. I mean, A) they don't even know her, and B)she's 4 months old. I know that Americans are 'sposed to stick together, but I feel they're assuming a level of familiarity that they simply do not have. But that's neither here nor there.

What's really bugging me is that the application asks for "precise periods of physical presence in the United States" for Jason and I. And then it says, "Use additional sheets if necessary". Which means they're serious about that. So, I have to remember and document every time that Jason or I have been out of the country for the last, like, ever. To understand why I am annoyed, you need to know that part of our jobs before we came here was taking groups of students on overseas trips. And before that, we each took several trips overseas as college students. A week here, a week there. And since living here, we've been back to the States several times. I can't remember all those precise dates! I am only a simple woman.

So now, I find myself going, "Babe, how many times did you take teams to Costa Rica?" and "Did you go to Mexico during the summer of 1993?" And if you know Jason's powers of recall about dates, I might as well be asking him to travel back in time to 1993. But I'm afraid to fake it. Cause what if they know? What if it's all a test?

This will be the activities of my evening. And here's the kicker: at the top of this form it says, "estimated response burden: 20 minutes"! Ha! I say again, Ha! Ha, United States Department of State! It will take me "20 minutes" to figure out if I went to South Africa in 2000 or 2001.

Maybe it's not all that important that Grace be an American. I mean, Australia is pretty awesome, you guys. And when she's 18 and asks me why she can't vote for the American president while the rest of us can, I'll tell her that the price for her citizenship was simply too high, and that the night I could've filled out the application, NCIS was on. And we can't miss that, can we? Mark Harmon, people!

(No one is handsomer than my Jason, but that man's a biscuit. It is what it is.)

Am I still talking? Yes? Okay, well I better stop now. I'll get back to you and let you know how all *that* went.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I am here, but like, not here. It's very metaphysical.

Hey y'all! Just popping in to tell you that I'm not here today. It's kind of like when I call someone to tell them why I haven't called them yet. Or replied to an email to tell someone why I don't have time to reply just now. Today I'm guest posting over at my sister Becky's place. Come see me!

Oh, just click over, already. It won't hurt you to have a little look-see.

And while we're on the subject of family, hast thou considered my brother Dave? Dave is my senior political adviser. We don't always agree, but he's, as we say in the South, ex-try smart. And he's always got something thought-provoking to say--right now it's a series on the health care debate in the States. (May rock the boats of some of my more conservative buds. Just tellin' ya.)

Have a great day! And come visit me over at Becky's place.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Everyone's a Comedian

The kids have been telling lots of jokes lately, usually as we're driving somewhere. I am also asked, nay, required to tell jokes as well. Which often puts me in the enviable position of trying to think of another knock-knock joke while navigating rush hour traffic and listening to Grace wail.

At least it keeps them busy and happy, and at least they aren't asking me about how the continents all moved into their current places. Yes, seriously. The other day I was driving across the multi-laned, congested Sydney Harbour Bridge while trying to explain plate tectonics to Ava. You can imagine how that went. This is why we keep Papa on speed dial. My dad is a wealth of such information and has saved me from many a minor traffic incident as I attempt to explain what would happen if you swallowed a brick, or what the sun is made of, or how God is everywhere at the same time.

But about the jokes. I usually give a courtesy laugh to the kids' jokes. There are only so many jokes about poop that are funny, really. But here are two that Ava told that I thought were pretty good.

Ava: Why did the giraffe go to the doctor?
Me: I don't know...why?
Ava: Cause he was an elephant.

Kind of existential, don't you think? I just love how random kids can be.

Here's the other:

Ava: Why did the electric eel go to the doctor?
Me: Why?
Ava: Cause he wanted to kill the doctor.

This one really struck me as funny, I think because of how surprised I was that she came up with something like that. I started laughing, but then I got in trouble with Jason, who reminded me that jokes about killing people are in fact not funny. Right. Oops.

So far, Nate's comic sensibilities are still in formation. Most of his jokes are hybrids of established formats. For example:

Nate: Knock Knock
Me: Who's there?
Nate: Why did the poop go to the doctor?
Me: Why?
Nate: Orange you glad I didn't say banana?

Out-of-the-box. Unconventional. One reviewer noted, "Nate likes to push the envelope and keep me guessing. He toys with my traditionalist understanding of a simple joke. He's edgy like that." Indeed.

Please if you know any good knock-knock jokes, send them my way. I am about tapped out.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

And to top it off, now I'm a quitter.

For the last 3 years or so, I've been a member at one of those gyms for girls who don't like gyms. You know, the ones that have a pre-set circuit that you do each time you go in. They play oldies and Cher songs that have been turned into techno beats. I'm telling you, you haven't lived till you've heard Cher's cover of "Walking in Memphis" with some kickin' bass behind it! This is a very well-known fitness franchise, wink wink.(I'm not sure if it's kosher to tell you that I'm talking about Curves, so I won't mention it.)

But for the last year or so, I haven't been going faithfully. And here are my excuses, in no particular order:
1. Life has gotten much busier.
2. Their hours are weird. Like, they're closed everyday from 11:30am-2:30pm, which would be the optimal time for me to go: the kids are napping and Jason can work uninterrupted while I'm gone. And they close for the day at 7pm, so I can't go after the kids are asleep.
3. They have no childcare.
4. I am kind of lazy.

And in the last 4 months, since Grace was born? Not happening, dude. And so, my workouts diminisheth and my muffin top increaseth. Yea, verily.

Note: Artistic representation of said top.

I've enjoyed working out there. It's simple and unintimidating. And frankly, as one of the younger women, I'd be-bop around there feeling all fit and cute and stuff. (This factor is not to be discounted in one's exercise regimen.) But, I haven't been going. And in La Casa Down Under, we have been trying to cut costs. We gave up our membership at the Yacht Club*, I now make our own soap and candles**, and Jason gave up his gym membership too. So it was time for me to do the same.

I have been putting it off for a couple months now. Because I didn't want to have to call them and get grilled about why I'm quitting. The manager is a nice but very firm woman, kind of stern, and I didn't want to face her. I know!! I don't owe these people any explanation, you say. And you say rightly. But, you can ask my mama, it is embedded in my personality to: feel obligated to apologize for things I have no control over and to avoid disappointing people at all costs. Thanks, middle-child syndrome! You're awesome. I am every telemarketer's dream! Before I married Jason and he taught me to toughen up a bit, if a waiter brought me the wrong order in a restaurant, I would eat it anyway. I KNOW. I AM JUST TELLING YOU. I am really much better now.

Am I still talking? Oh, yes. So, today I called when they were closed for the midday break (classic conflict avoidance technique--I have many)and broke the news on the voicemail. So that way, when they called back, I could just get on with business.

And you know what? They called back. And it was no big deal. They didn't even try to get me to reconsider. She was all, "That's totally fine. You just need to come in and sign the cancellation form."

Jason knows how and why I've been putting this off. So when I told him that I'd actually called and was taking the kids and going over there to do it, he chuckled. "That's good babe," he said, smirking at me. "Safety in numbers. You can hide behind the children." Smartass.***

So I went in, and tried to look all flustered-mom-with-no-time-to-work-out, which wasn't hard, and I signed and I'm out. Whew! It's not that I didn't like this very well-known fitness franchise that may or may not be Curves. But I haven't been going, and it's been hanging over my head as we throw this money away every month. Lord! The buildup to that was almost as emotionally intense as changing hairdressers. And there are entire episodes of Oprah about that!

That has been my day. Along with some other stuff. And tell me: are you freakish in this way like me?

*I made that up.
**Not really.
***To any of my church members who are particularly sensitive: sorry. But there really isn't another word I could've used. And you KNOW how Jase can be sometimes.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


So here's a coupla things.

1. Grace hates the car. I think I've mentioned that before. She is sweet as sugar with icing on top and a caramel center. But when strapped into her car seat she becomes a tiny, vengeful, bitter little girl. One night several weeks ago, I was driving home with just the two of us in the car. She was getting cranked up and my efforts at placating-while-driving were falling short. So I just gave up and turned up the CD I was listening to, thinking, "Oh well, I'll just try to drown her out." (Does that sound heartless? Such is the lot of the third child, I suppose. One can't make everything a life or death issue.)As soon as the music was turned up, she stopped. And then when the song ended, she started wailing again. So I played the song again. And again, until we got home. It's a song called "Stronger" by Hillsong United.

Now, we play it in the car whenever she starts to fuss, and about 70% of the time, she calms down. Trust me, this is progress. It doesn't work for any other song, just this one. It's funny--cause Ava was actually like this in the car too. And in the same random fashion, one day we found "her" song, as well. And listened to it every day for the rest of our mortal lives. Or that's what it felt like, anyway. We have now listened to Grace's song approximately eleventy million times. Give or take. I know more about its production and chord progression than the people who recorded it. And I think I've learned to play bass.

2. I am eating an apple right now at my desk. A seed just fell out and rolled under the desk. I am too lazy to crawl under and get it. But I think I remember reading something about apple seeds containing trace amounts of arsenic. Have you heard this? Perhaps I am endangering my children by leaving it. But I am hoping that they will be too lazy to crawl under there, too. Plus, there are far more interesting things on the floor that are within reach.

3. One of these items on the floor is an animatronic cat that I bought for Ava at a garage sale. It moves at random intervals and meows.

(Ours is much grungier than this one!)
It freaks me out a little bit. Like, if I feed it after midnight, will it come alive and stalk the earth? It was funny, though--the lady at the garage sale wanted 6 bucks for it. I asked if she'd take 4. (Aussies don't like to bargain at garage sales, but I do it anyway. It's how God intended it.) She rolled her eyes at me and sighed. Like I was a moron. "Well, it is a proper cat and all," she huffed, "But fine." And I wanted to say, "No it isn't a proper cat, weird lady. It's a stuffed animal. This isn't an auction at Sotheby's. Take the 4 bucks!" Is it me or is it her? It's her, isn't it?

4. My apron is working, y'all. It's working! I am like a machine. A machine that bakes things. Yesterday, the kids and I made chocolate chip cookies (another attempt to distract from the rain--this time a hailstorm).

They have a funny little routine now when we are mixing the ingredients. The chocolate chips are little people in a world that is fraught with calamity. They narrate it as I pour all the ingredients in. The brown sugar is a flood of sand down from the sky. The flour is a snowstorm. The melted butter is sun that melts the snow, and the egg is lava that has all the little people screaming. It's pretty funny to listen to them carry on.

But the real horror begins when the cookies all have to go into the oven. Oh, the humanity! I think this is the culinary equivalent of the kid who burns ants with a magnifying glass. Ava and Nate are positively gleeful in watching the chocolate chips suffer.

Can you tell I've been indoors for too long? Well, the sun is out today, so here's hoping that we can all go out and get a life. Hope yours is good! And get back to me on that apple seed thing, will you?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cheap Thrills. And a Revelation.

It's a long weekend here in Oz. Today, Monday, is Labor Day. So the kids and I are in full holiday mode. We've decorated the Labor Tree with little laborers, and the Labor stockings are all hung by the chimney with care. And in anticipation of Labor Day, I went into labor about 4 months ago. So, I feel I've done my duty.

Anyway, it's been a rainy long weekend. And, what with being indoors pretty much the entire last 3 days, I think we are all starting to get a little cabin fever.

(I was about to add that photo of Jack Nicholson from "The Shining". You know--where he's all, "Heeere's Johnny!" Cause it makes me think of cabin fever. But then I looked at the photo and it scared me too much and I decided not to add it. But I thought you should know.)

So, what with the rain, and the raining of the rain, and the overall raininess, I have been trying to keep the kids entertained. Jason and I have played many games of "Guess Who" with them. Which is also an exercise in patience.

The kids have watched "Space Buddies" three times. Or 15 times, but who's counting? They have built tents in the living room. I piled all the extra pillows and blankets in the guest room and let them jump off the bed onto the pillows. Because at our house, safety comes first. I blew up a balloon a buncha times and let it go, and they tried to see who could catch it.

That white blur at the top is the balloon. We are not so desperate that I have them trying to catch an imaginary balloon. Yet.

I've printed off coloring pages from the internets, we've baked cookies, we've watched that video of the baby tearing paper on YouTube a bunch of times and I am starting to crack up a little.

What do you do on rainy days that rain and rain and rain? I mean, I could deal with the rain if it weren't for all the rain, you know?

And the other day, the kids and I were chatting. It was that kind of random, stream-of-consciousness rambling that you can engage in with preschoolers. (Really pretty funny.) I said to Nate, "Let's start calling Ava AH-va. Doesn't that sound nicer?" So then, they started asking what new names we could give everyone else. (I told you it was a little trippy.) So Nate became Noot, and Daddy was Doody. And then Ava said, "What about Gracie?" And as we were changing the vowel sounds, I realized. Grossy. Oh, horror! Have I doomed her to a life of being called "Gross Grace" or "Gracie Grossy" on the playground? Why didn't I realize this before? I thought I had considered all the bad nickname possibilities! Why didn't you say anything?

Okay. I told you I was losing it a little bit. I'm gonna shut this down and see if we can get out of the house. I think I'm gonna go buy someone a pony or something. I gotta get out of here.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

And now, on a more serious note: Pray for the Philippines

Updated to say: A couple people asked, so I added some links with donation info at the bottom.

Hi guys. Just a quick note to ask any pray-ers out there to say a few for the Philippines today. Last weekend a powerful storm, Typhoon Ketsana, dumped an unbelievable amount of rain on the city of Manila.

A month's worth of rain in just 12 hours. Something like eighty percent of the city was submerged. And to put that in perspective, Manila is massive. It's ginormous, in fact. (And yes, that's the technical term.) There are about 20 million people who live in metro Manila, making that one city as populous as the whole nation of Australia. Wow.

Alot of our church members here in Sydney are from the Philippines, and they came to church last Sunday with stories of their family members fleeing as floodwaters rose faster than they would've thought possible. Many are still in Evacuation Centers, as their homes were submerged up to the rooflines. So, to say the least, it's been a tough week there. The storm went on to wreak havoc in Vietnam as well.

And now, it appears that there is another storm headed for the Philippines. This one, Typhoon Parma, is expected to make landfall today in the northern part of the nation, the island of Luzon, where Manila is located.

This has been a crazy week in this part of the world! I don't know how much you might've heard but there have been earthquakes in Indonesia and Tonga, a tsunami in Samoa, and these typhoons as well. I just wanted to put it out there--to pray for the people in these nations whose lives are in chaos after all this, and for those in the Philippines now, who are bracing for another storm. We have friends here who have family members in its path. I am thinking of them this morning.

Hope you are all well. Have a great weekend, and stay safe.

Oh, by the way! Jason and I, as well as our church, are giving towards the relief efforts. If you'd like to be a part of that, let me know and I can point you toward some international relief organizations who are involved. Mwah!

Update: Here's some links. These are two that we're personally involved with.
Every Nation Ministries: gives specifically to local churches who are mobilizing relief assistance in their communities. Click "one-time donation" and then follow the prompts.

Compassion International. They are already providing assistance through their child development centres there.

And of course, the Red Cross.