Monday, January 30, 2006

Window on my world

$120 later, we have a new window in our garage door. It doesn't quite match the other windows, because the others were sprayed with some kind of "frosting" spray on the inside, to make them opaque and not clear. I'll be looking to get some of that stuff to make the new one match. Joel says he will not play ball by the house again and if he sees anyone else doing it, he'll tell them to stop.

Just a few days until we leave for Disneyland. The dog has a vet appointment Thursday to make sure he is current on his shots and bordatella immunization, and I have his "room" at the kennel booked beginning Saturday afternoon. For me, the hardest part about taking a vacation is leaving him in a kennel. It feels almost like leaving one of the kids behind. I'd be much happier if he were at home with someone to spend time with him.

I guess I should start making a packing list to make sure we don't forget anything this weekend. I'll have to check the weather forecast to see what to pack.... I'm pretty sure everyone will need jackets and/or sweatshirts. Hopefully we can avoid rain. That would make it pretty hard to enjoy ourselves. Speaking of enjoying... if I'm lucky, we'll get to meet up with MellieHelen on this trip!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Drivin' my life away

So today I put about 220 miles on the van.... First, to church and back. Then back to church to meet up with the other singers going to Pepperdine, from there to Tri-Valley, then back to church, and back home. I couldn't believe it when I looked down at the trip odometer and saw the number 200 staring back at me. I guess if I'm going to be totally honest, I should admit that I wasn't driving all those miles. Rick drove five of us (we had 3 singers out sick tonight) to Livermore and back. I'd never been there before, and the roads are pretty curvy. I much prefer the passenger's seat in those circumstances.

I got home to find an email from MissZoot, who is hard at work on a new blog design for me. If she doesn't tell me to take a flying leap after reading my reply with questions/suggestions, things might be looking different around here in the next week or two. (I guess that depends on how much time she has during the week to work on it, and if I want to update it before we leave on our little Disneyland trip next Sunday.)

Now, off to spend a little time with the offspring before bedtime.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Getting stuff done

Thanks for all the kind words regarding my handling of Thursday afternoon's window crisis. The reason I even bothered to write about it was to remind myself of those kind of positive moments. Believe me, those kind of moments aren't the norm here. I spend more time breaking up fights between kids and making repeated requests for respect and kindness toward parents and siblings than I do in any other activity with the kids. But I think it's times like the one with Joel that make up for it. Hopefully we'll get more of those "ah-hah" moments.

I'm getting ready to run the boys to sign up for Little League. Hubby is moonlighting in Sacramento this weekend, so it's just me and the kids until Monday morning. The younger ones want to see Nanny McPhee today; depending on what else is going on around here, we might just do it.

Tomorrow will be busy... church in the a.m., then East Bay Praise Team (picture on page 10 of the brochure) rehearsal in the early evening.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Broken windows and mended hearts

The boys are going to sign up for Little League at the base this weekend. They're pretty excited and spent much of yesterday outside hitting balls and practicing catching. At one point, I did ask them not to throw the ball at or near the house, just in case something were to break. It wasn't much later before Joel came to me and told me that he had been throwing the ball up in the air out in front of the garage, and that the ball bounced into one of the garage door windows and broke it. My initial reaction was extreme frustration (Rick: think Randy Harris' reaction to the sobbing woman in the airport). I was able to regain composure fairly quickly and told Joel that I thought he should put his ball away for the rest of the day. After I cleaned everything up, I realized I needed to talk to him more. He had shut himself in his room, and when I went in, he was sitting on his bed... little face streaked with tears. I gave him a hug and told him that I realized I had forgotten to tell him something. I told him how proud I was that he came to me right away and told me the truth about the window. I asked him who else was pleased that he chose the right thing to do, and he said, "God." Then we talked a little bit about why I had asked him not to play ball near the house and I said, "Mommy doesn't say "No" or make rules just to be mean or make you mad," to which he replied, "You do it because you love us and want to keep us safe." Well, isn't that just what every mom wants to hear?? There was much hugging and squeezing and kissing after that. I'm glad he realized I wasn't angry with him, and very happy that we were able to restore our relationship. I think that's often one of the missing links when our children have misbehaved or displeased us. The younger they are, the easier it seems to be. I hope I can find better ways to do this with my oldest. At her age, she is so busy trying to separate from us, that maintaining any feeling of connectedness to her is a challenge.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A sappy post

Last night, I got to speak to a room full of people back in Omaha, Nebraska, via the wonders of cell phone (mine) and speakerphone (theirs)... and about 100 feet of phone cable so the phone would reach into the fellowship hall. I'd been asked the day before if I would mind giving my impressions on "Caring Community": what my family and I had experienced there, what we miss, and its importance to us. I am afraid I didn't convey everything as well as I could or should have. I mentioned prayer groups, family life groups, people who were like second parents to my children. I remembered times when we were prayed for, encouraged, and loved deeply. I told them I appreciated the way we were drawn into the family immediately with ways we could serve, and the way we were part of the lives of others there, not just acquaintances we saw on Sundays and Wednesdays.

There was so much more I wanted to say, but how do you say it on the phone, and without losing composure and making yourself totally unintelligible? These people literally became family to us in the 2 short years we were there. There are men and women there who are spiritual parents to us, aunts and uncles and cousins to our children. We who, by virtue of our status as military dependents, have not been afforded the luxury of living near our physical families, were given 10-fold what we did not have.

There's a big word being tossed about in theological circles today: incarnational. Simply put, it just means "being Jesus." I think that's what you see in a "caring community." A lot of people, being Jesus... trying to love as He did.

I'm not sure if my words to them had as much of an impact on them as their words back to me. As our phone conversation ended, the group joined together to sing "We Love You With the Love of the Lord." Right back atcha, folks. So... who's coming to visit?

Monday, January 23, 2006

The wanderer returns

This weekend was just awesome. I am already looking forward to next year's conference. (I know the Zoe gang and those from Fresno who worked so hard are glad they have a whole year before doing it again, though.) We were treated to some great stories of encouragement by Mike Cope, Randy and LaJuana Gill, and Leonard Sweet. (Jim, Mike says "Hey" right back, and he'll see you at Tulsa and Pepperdine.) The singing was like nothing I've heard... we raised the roof, especially on Friday in the smaller chapel. I'm still singing.

I was able to touch base with one of the Zoe singers who grew up in the same southeast Missouri congregation I did. He's a bit younger than me (say 10-12 years), but he was a bit tickled to run into someone from his boyhood home. He and the rest of his family are all in the Nashville area now... it was good catching up on what they're doing.

I also met some new people this weekend. On Saturday I got to have lunch with a small group that included Melanie Simpson from the Bering Drive church in Houston, and her dad, Edward Fudge. Melanie and I met Saturday morning and she invited me to join them. Also joining us were Tim and Nina Castle and their children, and Ruth and Terry Hutchison, of the College Church of Christ in Fresno.

The kids were all happy to see me Sunday. They had a great time with their dad while I was gone. Now I get my old job back this week and it's time to get on with the business of life around here. But I'll be doing it singing.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

My weekend starts tonight

I am fortunate to get to attend the Zoe West Coast conference in Fresno this weekend. Although my section of the conference doesn't begin until tomorrow evening, I'm hitching a ride with Rick and Virgina, who need to be there Friday morning. I'll be spending the night with them in Antioch tonight so that we can leave early tomorrow morning. That means I have a lot to do to get ready today. First order of business is to get to the gym, then come home and shower and start a load of laundry. Then it's school with the kids, followed by packing for the weekend (I'll have to spend Saturday night with them as well, as we'll get back too late to drive back here). Rick and VJ have both been a bit under the weather the last couple of days. I'll have to remember to take my Airborne before I leave today. I don't want to risk not being able to sing this weekend!

I'm really looking forward to the conference and hope it will be a time of renewal... Plus, there will be a guy there who grew up in the same church I did back in Missouri; I want to find out how his folks are doing. They moved away from SE Missouri to Tennessee, so I don't get to hear about them from my mom anymore.

Unless I can find a free wi-fi connection (a totally rare thing in "You just breathed; you owe me money" California) and post using my PocketPC, after today y'all won't be hearing from me until I get back home Sunday. Brian will be single-dadding it while I'm gone. He's good at it, probably better than I am at single-momming it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Only 2 tickets

Imagine going to the movies and only buying *2* tickets. That's what we did yesterday. Brian and I actually went to see a movie by ourselves! It was kinda nice... we got to sit next to each other in a theater for the first time in ages. What did we see??? Last Holiday. We really liked it. It was a very clean movie, one that I wouldn't mind the kids seeing if they were interested. Queen Latifah's character was easy to root for. Timothy Hutton (my, how he's aging!) did well with his character... a rich, snobby retail magnate. Even LLCoolJ was fun to watch. Definitely a good date movie.

Today's plans: Head to the gym this morning, come home and start school with the kids, catch up on some laundry and housework...

Sunday, January 15, 2006

These are the days that never end...

I am having flashbacks to some of our LTC Super Sundays, except today I wasn't holed up inside the church building all afternoon. It was just one of those long days where we left the house at 8:15am and didn't get back in til around 9pm. Because I had a special praise team practice scheduled for 4pm, we decided it would be rather silly to drive home after lunch, only to have to turn right around and drive the 40 minutes back just an hour or hour and a half later. So after lunch, we ran a couple of errands and then spent an hour or so at Rick and Virginia's house. The boys watched Cartoon Network (what heaven for them, since we don't have cable), and VJ and I played a memory game with Halle. Brian was able to read the newspaper and catch up on some paperwork.

Praise team practice went really well... we began learning new songs from True Lift's newest CD, My Everything. We sang for only an hour and a half. Anyone who knows me knows I could have kept on going. But there were other things to do.

Brian and Noah had a woodworking activity with a bunch of other dads and sons from church, beginning at 5:30. He dropped the other kids off at the building with me on their way to that. Then the younger two hung out with me at youth group from 6-8.

Makes for a long day, but it was still a good day.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

I've been Hoodwinked

Well, not really. We just took the kids to see the new movie Hoodwinked tonight. It was a very cute movie. Not very long... just a bit over an hour. But it was fun. Basically, it's the Red Riding Hood story, with a twist, told from 4 different viewpoints. The animation reminded me a lot of some of the Nickelodeon stuff, like Jimmy Neutron. The voice characterizations were great. Not sure if it is DVD library material or not.... we'll have to wait and see. Now what I really wanted to see tonight was Last Holiday, but that isn't one the younger kids really have too much interest in. Hopefully I'll be able to catch it soon. I'm starting to get a kick out of Queen Latifah's movies.

After we got home, I was able to catch the 20/20 segment on public education. Stupid in America was the title, and while it seems rather harsh... I couldn't disagree with a lot of what was said by critics of the current government education system. I realize John Stossel went in with the intent to criticize the system, so I know it wasn't an impartial report (is anything reported in the media ever truly unbiased?), but a lot of what was brought to light were things you really couldn't argue about (the education monopoly, unions, lack of choice). I kept wishing he would interview John Taylor Gatto. If you're not familiar with this guy, he is a former 3-time NY CityTeacher of the Year who has written several books on education and the need for reform. You can spend a long time reading the stuff at his website.... things that make you go "Hmmmmm."

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A level bed

Yeah, I bet you're wondering what that means, aren't you? My kids got a lesson in physics this morning when they found their mom and dad's bed in a somewhat off-kilter state. You see, we've been telling them for a long time that they shouldn't jump on our bed. Of course, our admonishings have fallen on deaf ears. And then we moved the television out of the alcove in our bedroom. The boys have been climbing up in it and one little boy (the littlest) was enjoying jumping from the alcove down onto the bed.

Soooooo... last night I was watching television in bed, and Brian had already fallen asleep; he turned over and his side of the bed collapsed at the top. He barely woke up... and proceeded to go right back to sleep. Guess there's the evidence that someone can sleep in a modified Trendelenburg* position.

The kids saw the bed in this strange state this morning and ran to find me and tell me about it. That was when we had the discussion about how much more power there is in a jump from a high place than when one is just jumping up and down... but both kinds of jumps contributed to the demise of our bed supports.

Thankfully, Brian was able to repair the slats and supports tonight. It was time to turn the mattress anyway.

Off to enjoy sleeping on the level once more....

*head down/feet up position, usually at about a 45-degree angle

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Keep 'em coming!

OK, I saw a few new people yesterday. I know there are more... Hello to Carol (who posted anonymously... do I know you, or are you one of those unknown lurkers?), Tiff, Jennifer, ~Cathy~, Helene, and Sue... and those of you who are occasional commenters or people who are on my blogroll or daily sniffing spots (Jim, Rick, Jenni, Chris, Clarissa, Mellie Helen, Donna, and Donna).

Anymore lurkie-loos out there?


I'm getting pumped about getting to go to the Pepperdine Lectures this year. It would be so neat if I could meet some blogging buddies there! Only about 2 1/2 months to go....

But before Pepperdine comes our Disneyland trip. We're heading down there for the first time next month. I'm looking forward to seeing it and will try very hard not to compare it to WDW too much. I'm not expecting the same thing. I know both places have both pluses and minuses. I'm looking for the pluses!

The other thing about the trip that I'm looking forward to is just seeing the sights along the way. Once we get past San Jose, it will all be new territory for us. I'm hoping we can make time either on the way down or on the way back to drive Highway 101 along the coast (I'm thinking on the way back, because it will be on a weekday... maybe less traffic).

Monday, January 09, 2006

Delurking week

Last year, Sheryl instituted a delurking day. This year, it's a whole week!! So those of you who stop in and don't usually comment, please leave a little "Howdy" in the comments this week.

Busy day here today, so a real post later...

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Sunday stuff

Today is a day of firsts... First day of new Sunday School classes at church, first Reunion service of the new year tonight. I'm attending Rick's class on prayer, "In God's Presence." From the discussion today, it looks like it is going to be a great class. Tonight's Reunion is going to focus on prayer as well. I'm looking forward to it. Prayer is something I want to work on this year.

We came home after church and Emily and I worked on getting lunch ready together. She made the mashed potatoes while I got the rolls shaped and in the oven (yes, I did make the time to get them mixed up before we left for church). Afterwards, the kids helped clear the table. I had to wait for the dishwasher to run last night's dishes (we forgot to turn the dishwasher on last night) so I could load the ones from today, so while I was waiting, I played some Harry Potter Scene-It with Halle and Noah.

I also finally registered for the Zoe Worship Conference that is coming up in a couple of weeks in Fresno. I am really looking forward to it!

Gotta run.. time to head back to church.

The rest of the day

Well, the rolls never got made. I'll try again for some for lunch tomorrow. We're trying to save some $$ and eat Sunday dinner (lunch) at home, rather than go out. I'll be popping a roast in the crockpot before we leave and hopefully I'll have time to mix up the rolls before we go as well. Otherwise, we'll just have to stop at the grocery store for some brown 'n serve ones on our way home.

Brian met with success on his shoe shopping venture. The only other thing we accomplished (besides the traditional Saturday Night Baths for the young'uns) was getting the TV in our room moved out of the alcove over the fireplace and on top of our chest... an amazing feat, considering it's a 32" TV and is unbelievably heavy. I still can't believe we did it.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Treats for the feet... and tummy

So far, today has consisted mostly of taking care of laundry and going shoe shopping. Not "there's a sale and I'd like something new" kind of shopping, but "the kids' feet won't stop growing" kind. Joel and Halle each got new tennis shoes and Halle got a new pair of shoes for church/dress. Brian is also still searching for shoes to wear in the OR at work. His old pair have finally worn out. He saw some hopefuls at Shoe Pavilion and will go back to check them out.

For now, I'm making some peanut butter cookies. Then I'll need to make some dinner rolls to go with the steak we're grilling for dinner. We're going to take advantage of the non-rainy day to have some good grillin'.

Friday, January 06, 2006

I can see the floor

Yeah, it's another post about cleaning. While I was running some movies back to Blockbuster tonight, Brian started in shoveling out the crap cleaning up the mess in Halle's room. Don't worry, there was enough there that there was still plenty for me to help with when I got back. One and one half kitchen trash bags later.... we can see the floor again. The only thing really left to do is go through her dresser drawers and get them organized. But a peek into the room no longer sends one running away in terror.

Next project: Joel's cesspool bedroom.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Back from blog hooky

Yeah, I've played hooky from blogging the past few days. Nothing really all that bloggable going on, anyway. We're trying to get back into some kind of routine with school, chores, housework, etc., and it's a slow start. But I have hope.

The massive rains caused ants to seek refuge in Emily's room, necessitating some insecticide, followed by a major cleanup in there. Brian did the majority of the work. I don't think her room ever looked as good as it does now. I'm hoping it'll stay that way for a while.... but I'm not holding my breath! Now we just need to overhaul the other kids' rooms. They've all managed to trash them totally.


Tonight we had a great praise team rehearsal. I'm looking forward to Sunday. It should be another awesome worship service. We'll be remembering how God worked in our church family's life in 2005. I think the songs will really help direct people's hearts toward Him.


If you're still awake, bless you... maybe tomorrow I'll have something a little more caffeinated to say.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Just another New Year's Day

Except this one was on a Sunday. Staying up to see the new year in made it a little harder to get up and get going this morning, but we all still managed to get ready and make it to Sunday School on time (early, even). Next time NYE is on a Saturday, I think I'll take someone's suggestion and celebrate on New York City time.

Brian and I got the tree taken down and all the ornaments put away today. The spot where the tree was looks a little bare, but I'm sure the kids will find a way to fill it with some of their stuff soon. Tomorrow is his last day off before going back to work. We've all enjoyed having him around. Hopefully we can do something fun together tomorrow to take advantage of his last day of freedom.

Oh, and for those who have wondered how we're fairing with the rain.... the closest flooding so far has been up in Napa. That standing water I mentioned on the patio was the worst thing I saw nearby. It's pretty much gone now. There was also some flooding east of us that actually closed down one side of the interstate for a good part of the day and evening yesterday (Saturday). Good thing it didn't happen Friday, or we would have been stuck up in Sacramento, and the dog would have had yellow eyeballs by the time we made it home! We were gone 12 hours as it was, and he was quite happy to see us.

Sure wish we could send some of this moisture to Oklahoma and Texas.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!!

Related Posts with Thumbnails