Thursday, July 27, 2006

They don't understand

Like my good friend, Jim, I like to listen to music. Unlike Jim, I don't ride around town with my IPod in my ears, though. I tend to keep my XM Radio tuned to station 32, The Message. It's mostly contemporary Christian music, although sometimes you'll hear a pop song that could be interpreted towards a relationship with Christ or other believers (Hawk Nelson's Everything You Ever Wanted, Ali and AJ's Never Far Behind), or a country song (Carrie Underwood's Jesus Take the Wheel). One such song has played several times over the last few days and I've been meaning to mention it here because it is one that really gets to me when I hear it (dare I even use the word "convict" here?). Check out the lyrics and see what I mean. Here's Sawyer Brown's They Don't Understand:

A mother riding on a city bus
Kids are yelling kicking up a fuss
Everybody's staring not knowing what she's going through
Somebody said don't you even care?
Do you let 'em do that everywhere?
She slowly turned around, looked up and stared
She said Please forgive them
But they've been up all night
Their father struggled but he finally lost his fight
He went to heaven
In the middle of the night
So please forgive my children

(They don't understand)
Everybody's busy with their own situation
Everybody's lost in their own little world
Bottled up, hurry it up trying to make a dream come true
(They don't understand)
Everybody's living like there ain't no tomorrow
Maybe we should stop and take a little time
Cause you never really know what your neighbor's going through
(They don't understand)

A man driving on the interstate
Slowing down traffic making everybody late
Everybody's staring not knowing what he's going through
Somebody hollered from the passing lane
Yelled out the window, hey ain't got all day
The old man looked around and caught his eye
He said please forgive me
You know it's been a long life
My wife has passed away and my kids don't have the time
I've been left all alone
And its getting hard to drive
So please forgive me children

(They don't understand)
Everybody's busy with their own situation
Everybody's lost in their own little world
Bottled up, hurry it up trying to make a dream come true
(They don't understand)
Everybody's living like there ain't no tomorrow
Maybe we should stop and take a little time
Cause you never really know what your neighbor's going through
(They don't understand)

A man hanging on a wooden cross
Giving everything to save the lost
Everybody's staring not knowing what he's going through
Somebody said you don't have a prayer
If you were keen you'd come down from there
The man just turned his head looked up and stared
He said please forgive them
For they have not seen the light
They'll come to know me when I come back to life
Go to heaven, to make everything all right
So please forgive your children

(They don't understand)
Everybody's busy with their own situation
Everybody's lost in their own little world
Bottled up, hurry it up trying to make a dream come true
(They don't understand)
Everybody's living like there ain't no tomorrow
Maybe we should stop and take a little time
Cause you never really know what your neighbor's going through
(They don't understand)

A mother riding on a city bus
Kids are yelling kicking up a fuss
Everybody's staring not knowing what she's going through

Monday, July 24, 2006

We're having a heat wave...

It has been H. O. T. the last few days. Temps in the triple digits, even into the 100-teens. The electricity was out for 30 minutes or so on Saturday, but I won't complain because I know people who went without a lot longer, like overnight. It sure doesn't make me want to leave the house unless I have to.

Had some surprising news at church yesterday. Our minister was offered a job in TX and after much prayer and consideration, he decided to take it. The job came looking for him, and not the other way around. I guess that tells you a little something about Jarrod. I haven't had a chance to talk to him about it yet. I don't think I could really blog about all the things I'm thinking; I'd prefer to just let him know in person. He probably already has some idea, since I was on the front row with the rest of the praise team when he made the announcement yesterday. I do know that those folks in the Dallas area are pretty darn lucky.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Monstrous fun

Monster House wasn't bad... it isn't the comedy that the previews make it out to be. It truly does have a lot of suspense in it. Thankfully, I had already read this in a review, so I was prepared. The kids liked it, but not as much as movies that are designed to make them laugh. Not that there weren't funny moments, but the movie was more about the mystery than it was about the laughter.

I was selected to preview a new "guest response" system at the theater last night. I was given a transmitter with 4 buttons on it. If I experienced any problems during the movie, I was to push the designated button.... There was one to push if the picture was messed up, another if there were sound issues, another marked "piracy," in case I noticed people filming the movie, and then another for "general disturbances," (loud guests, etc.). I didn't have to use it, and when I returned the transmitter after the show, I was rewarded with a free pass. I'm picturing a mom's afternoon at the movies today....

Oh, on a whim, I thought I would check airline ticket prices for our December trip again. The fare for our flight has zoomed to $600 a ticket! This is why advance planning is good.

Friday, July 21, 2006

I can see clearly now

Well, clearer, anyway. The time for a new eye exam was upon me today; my current gas permeable lenses were getting difficult to get clean, so I needed a new prescription to order new ones. The optometrist was able to get my current pair a bit cleaner than I've been able to, so I'm enjoying not looking through foggy lenses right now. I should have my new ones within a week; new glasses in 7-10 days. My prescription has changed a bit in the last couple of years, so it's just as well that I got this taken care of now. Too bad the military insurance doesn't cover LASIK; I'd have it done in a heartbeat!

The kids and I went to see Nacho Libre earlier tonight. It was fun; it was easier for me to get into than Napoleon Dynamite was (that took me a couple of viewings before I quit thinking "Gee, this is dumb.") The boys loved the wrestling. I just thought Jack Black was a hoot. There are some classic lines in it. One of these nights I'll have to ask Brian "to join me in my quarters this night.... for some toast."

The kids enjoyed their dental appointments on Wednesday. The pediatric dentist we were recommended has video games to keep the kids entertained while waiting. Thing is, it doesn't seem like the wait is very long, though. They appeared to keep things moving along fairly well. We're headed back tomorrow for some special X-rays for Noah and Halle (the dentist said insurance wouldn't cover those x-rays if we had them done on Wednesday, so we had to make a new appointment for those).... they'll need these x-rays to be evaluated for orthodontia (cha-ching!). Joel had a small cavity way in back that he'll be getting filled.

Afterwards, Emily wants to go to a movie night with the youth group from church. Brian will be up in Sacramento all weekend, so I'll have to find something for me and the other kids to do over there while she's watching the movie(s). I suppose we could always go to the movies; the younger ones have been wanting to see Monster House. Maybe I could find someone else from church to go with us. I guess we'll see...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Minty fresh

You'd think I was talking about someone's breath, but I'm not. It's the house. Something that Merry Maids uses to clean has a scent that is a mixture of mint and cinnamon. It's very cool. I love how the house smells when the ladies are done cleaning. And I like our regular ladies... they are so friendly. What is even cooler is that they are the regular team for some friends of ours (Brian's partner and her husband).

When they got here today, I was lying down upstairs with a headache. I felt like such a slug, lying on my bed while someone cleaned the room around me. But after 2 Motrin and a little rest, I felt much better.

I booked airfare for the kids' birthday trip to WDW today. I couldn't believe that the rates actually went up from when I was looking at them late last night. I ended up going with a slightly higher rate, just to get better arrival and departure times. I really didn't want to get up at 3 a.m. to make a 6 a.m. return flight. Now we don't have to leave until 6 p.m.

I started a new book today and am about halfway through it. It's called Learning to Breathe Again and is written by Tammy Trent. I saw Tammy at a Women of Faith conference recently and her story blew me away. I am sure I will loan this book out to others when I'm done with it.

I am trying to get together a group of girls from church to go to Sacramento this fall to the Revolve Tour. It's a special weekend put on by the Women of Faith group, but it's just for teen girls. Tammy will be there to share her story with everyone, and I think the girls will really be touched by it. She has such passion and energy; she definitely will not come off as "some adult trying to tell us how to live."

Busy day tomorrow... Some shopping with all 4 kids, then the 3 youngest have dental appointments in the afternoon. And then Wednesday night class at church. (Well, class for the kids; praise team rehearsal for me.)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Recovering from the weekend

Emily and the gang arrived back at church Saturday night around 9 or so after a long day's drive from AZ. They all had a great time and accomplished a lot. Emily spent a couple of mornings helping to roof a house. She also helped with an afternoon Vacation Bible School, and participated in 3 prayer sweats. The group also did a hike down into Jackass Canyon to the Colorado River and back up. Em said she will go back next year.

So it was nearly 11 when Brian and Emily got in Saturday night. It took a little while to wind down and get to bed. We were up and out of the house by a little after 8 to head to church the next morning, though. Came home after lunch and spent the afternoon doing this and that... Emily washed up all the clothes she had taken to Tuba City. Then we headed back across the bridge for youth group.

After youth group, a large number of the kids wanted to go see Pirates of the Caribbean 2. That included Emily, so I got to see it a *3rd* time. We made it home around midnight. Needless to say, we were pretty bushed.

We've spent today working around the house a bit. Tomorrow is our biweekly Merry Maids visit and we need to make sure things are picked up enough for the ladies to do their work. I've also been sitting here IMing with my friend Jenny, who is DEFINITELY going to Disney World at the same time this Christmas!! We've been making dinner plans and talking about which parks to do on which days. WDW is a lot of fun when you get to share it with others.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Moving on up

Both boys passed their swim classes this session. It doesn't look like there are any more classes open for the next few sessions, though, so I guess they're done for now. I think I'm ready to slow down a bit, anyhow. We only have a month before we head back to the midwest to visit friends and family. And then Emily starts school as soon as we get back, so I'd prefer not to spend the next few weeks going at a breakneck pace.

Emily gets back from her mission trip Saturday night. I'm looking forward to hearing all about it. I hoping she sleeps enough on the trip home that she won't be begging to sleep in on Sunday. It's a 15-hour trip, so she should be able to get as much sleep as she wants.

It's a slow news week around here, so that's all I have.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Planning and scheming

We had a nice rest of our weekend... The kids all enjoyed the new PoTC movie (that's Pirates of the Caribbean for those not familiar with that abbreviation). I discovered that I missed a little more than I realized the first time! Still not a ton, but a few things that helped me make sense of some parts that had me scratching my head before.

As for the planning and scheming, Emily and Noah have often asked about being able to visit Disney World for their birthdays (they share a Dec. 30 birth date 4 years apart). Even though it is a little late to start thinking about it, especially when it comes to using our Disney Vacation Club points, I looked into it late last week. This is one of the busiest times to go, as well as the time when rates are at their highest. As I suspected, I couldn't get one of our usual 2-bedroom villa acommodations at any DVC resort. So then I started looking at some of the regular Disney resorts and the availability of 2 separate rooms. I had a lot of options with that route. After asking Emily what her preference would be, I wound up getting us 2 rooms at the Contemporary Resort for Christmas Day through January 2nd. The kids are beyond excited.

One might think the planning and scheming to be over at that point. But no.... remember back in Sept. 2005 when I posted about Jenny and Melissa, the sisters we met on our Disney cruise? Jenny and I still keep in touch, and when I told her we were going this Christmas for a week, she started discussing the possibility with her sister that they might go for part of that same week. If I wasn't already excited about going back to the Happiest Place on Earth (except for Omaha), I sure am now! Last email from Jenny has them "leaning 75% toward seeing you all in a few months!".

Even if they aren't able to meet up with us, I still have a few more things to plan: where to eat for the kids' birthdays, reservations for dinner the other nights as well, and hopefully getting to reserve a boat to view fireworks from the water (that one I can't do until 90 days ahead of time, so I have a while). I'm watching airfares as well. I think I've found one good one, but watching for others before committing to it.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Saturday stuff

That fire we saw the other night ended up taking almost all night to put out. The newspaper account said it wasn't extinguished until almost 4:30 a.m. The authorities are pretty certain it was started by kids playing with fireworks. It burned off over 75 acres of grass.

Emily and I went to the 12:01 a.m. showing of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Thursday night. I had a hard time staying awake. It's not like I fell completely asleep during the movie, but I did nod off a few times. That is just so stinkin' late for me! Brian and I are taking the other kids later this afternoon. I should have an easier time of it this time. But it's so long.... not a movie you want to get drinks and food with! Emily says it is as good as or better than the first. I liked it enough, but kind of felt like it was one big teaser for the 3rd film. Not quite as much plot in this movie as in the first, either. The comedy is fun, though. We saw some great previews as well.... Talladega Nights, Night at the Museum, and The Guardian all look to be ones we'll want to go see.

We dropped Emily off at church last night around 10 or so to spend the night with the other kids headed to Tuba City, AZ. They were supposed to be leaving at 5:00 this morning. I'm hoping we'll hear from them once they get there. The kids aren't supposed to be using their cell phones until the trip home. Of course, after sitting unused all week, the batteries in them will be dead (that was Emily's experience at camp).

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Food, fun, fireworks, and fire

It's been a long day, but a fun one. I made cinnamon rolls for breakfast this morning (mmmm). This was the first time I'd made these particular ones, and they were met with unanimous approval. Emily told me not to bother to get any other kind (we usually get the Pillsbury rolls in the tube).

After breakfast, Emily and I made a trip to the BX and commissary, then came home to finish preparations for our afternoon cookout. I made the last yogurt pie and the cherry dump cake. Then Emily helped me get the patio furniture situated in the right place and the umbrella set up.

Our guests started arriving shortly after 2pm. Everyone seemed to have a good time; there was no shortage of conversation. The kids all hit it off. One of the families had kids all around the same ages of my 3 youngest, plus they homeschool as well... so that was very cool. Brian's partner brought a cake that was delicious; it was called a "Paul Newman" cake. A Google search confirmed that it is pretty much the same thing as the "Better than S3x" cake. Some versions actually call it the "Better than Paul Newman" cake. Folks started clearing out around 5:15 or so. I have a TON of leftovers... who wants to come help us eat them?

We headed over to Vacaville later to see the fireworks. I had an email from someone in a local homeschool group about a good place from which to view them, so we headed there and met up with her and her family. Brian got to chat quite a bit with her husband about their church in Vacaville.

On the way home, we noticed a grass fire up on the hills surrounding our neighborhood. We passed firetrucks heading past us to go put it out. We can see the fire from the house, even. I just took a look out the window and it is still burning. Ah, the dangers of fireworks in California in the summer! (But I really do like the smell of burning grass....)

Back to a somewhat more normal routine tomorrow!

Monday, July 03, 2006

(Almost) All work and (almost) no play

So today has been a busy day. Brian headed down to Moffett Field for the rubber mulch around 9 or so this morning. The boys and I left a little over an hour later to head to swim lessons. The cleaning service showed up while I was gone, but they were still here when we got back. I really like the ladies who have been coming; one of them is especially friendly, even to the dog and the rat.

I spent a good part of the afternoon working on laundry. When Brian got back from getting the mulch, Emily, Noah, and Halle helped him carry all *68* bags to the back patio. We spent the better part of the afternoon and evening working on getting the mulch spread out. We stopped only for a run to Papa Murphy's (to redeem free pizza coupons the kids got for completing their swim lessons last week) and to Lowe's for some edging material to contain the mulch. The kids spent most of the day jumping on the trampoline, with a few breaks to help put away laundry. Poor Noah tuckered himself out so much on the trampoline today that he fell asleep watching a San Francisco Giant's ballgame by 6:00 or so.

Emily helped me get the patio furniture that had been sitting on our front porch carried around to the back, then she sprayed it all off to clean the cobwebs off of it. Tomorrow, Brian will finish cleaning off the patio so we can get the table and chairs situated where we want them and then we'll put the new patio umbrella up as well.

Right now, Brian is off taking the dog for his daily 2-mile walk. I just finished making one of the yogurt pies for tomorrow. I need to make one more, but I will have to run to the store in the morning to get one more container of yogurt... Joel ate one of the ones I needed for the second pie. I'll also make a cherry dump cake in the morning.

The only other major thing on the agenda for tonight is giving the dog a bath. He is in major need of a groom, but has one more month before his grooming appointment, so I will have to do the best I can with him after Emily bathes him.

Happy 4th to all!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Not slowing down yet

It's been a whirlwind weekend... We spent part of Saturday morning/afternoon out shopping for our 4th of July cookout. Plus, we bought a trampoline for the kids at Sports Authority. We hadn't been home very long from our shopping trip when Emily called to let us know that the bus from camp was back at Martinez. Brian ran to pick her up; it was a short 30 minutes to get her, but over an hour to get back, thanks to the toll plaza and an accident on the highway. He said she spent the entire trip home talking about her week. It was obvious from all the stories she told us that she had a good time.

Oh, I almost forgot... Brian also got the garage cleaned out/organized enough that we can finally park the van in it. I had already gone upstairs for the night, so didn't see it until we were ready to leave for church this morning. It's nice being able to pull into the garage at last.

We had a great lunch after church today with Jarrod and Lauren at Olive Garden. I always enjoy spending time with them. Today we mostly talked about movies, with a little bit about Disneyland/Disney World thrown in. Jarrod's taste in movies seems pretty similar to ours. We talked a little about Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Nacho Libre (which Jarrod has seen, but we haven't), and Click (which I've seen, but Jarrod hasn't).

After we got home from lunch, we did some researching on landscaping materials for the back yard. It is pretty apparent that the sprinkler system is not going to happen, so now we are back to thinking about a small patch of sod we could keep alive with some stake sprinklers and then a couple areas of mulch: one rubber and one wood. We would use the rubber mulch around the trampoline and the wood mulch in the rest of the yard.

We spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening getting the trampoline and the enclosure put together. The trampoline itself was fairly simple. The enclosure was tedious. But it is done and we can relax a bit.

Tomorrow it is back to swim lessons for the boys. Merry Maids will be coming at some point as well. And Brian might be driving down to the Navy Exchange at Moffet Field (south of San Francisco) to get some rubber mulch. He can only find it at one place locally and the cost is about double what it is at the NEX.

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