Saturday, September 30, 2006


Yesterday was Ashton Kutcher movie day. The young ones got to see Open Season in the afternoon after we finished school. They liked it alright. I though it was OK. I would have rather taken a nap. My favorite part was getting to listen to Billy Connolly as the voice of McSquizzy the Squirrel.

After Brian got home from work, we all headed out to see The Guardian. Good story, a little long. Glad there was popcorn to keep Joel entertained. I think Ashton Kutcher showed he can handle a serious role here. Kevin Costner was... well, Kevin Costner. Never disappointing.

I was so wiped out by the time we got home, that I went to bed almost immediately. I was asleep by 10.

Today will be full of household stuff, plus a hair appointment for me in the afternoon.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Last I heard...

Seen at Zoot's... thought it looked like fun!

You go to Google and type in your name along with the phrase "last I heard he/she was" and see what you get. Find out what you're up to these days...

Last I heard, she was taking massage therapy classes at night. Ooh, that sounds like fun, but I'd rather be getting than giving.

Last I heard, she was living in Iowa. Let's make that one state west.

Last I heard, she was no longer teaching. Obviously, that is so not true.

Last I heard, she was still hangin' on, but barely... Ssssshhhh! It's a secret!

Last I heard she was quite far ahead in the polls. I'm not sure what polls that would be. That one scares me.

The last I heard she was pregnant again. Bite your tongue!

Last I heard she was going to go be a cop. Cop, mom... what's the difference?


After a weekend with just me and the kids, I am so happy to have my husband back home. He was up in Sacramento this weekend, doing the moonlighting thing. Then he left straight from work yesterday to go to his lay counselor class in Brentwood. Since he doesn't get home from that until around 10:30, Emily is the only one of the kids who got to see him last night. He's hoping to get off early today so he can get some good daddy-kid time in.

Tonight I have a "parent information night" at Emily's school. This is hosted by her English teacher. Each quarter when they start a new book, she gives parents a chance to find out what the kids will be covering; we will get a handout that shows their reading/quiz/test schedule, plus she'll give a synopsis of the book and go over the themes they'll be discussing. It's a little something to help us have intelligent discussion with our kid over what they're reading. This quarter's book: Romeo and Juliet. The book at the left is the one they are using. Emily said her teacher wasn't thrilled with it, but it was the cheapest edition they could get. Apparently, the "plain English" portion is a bit more descriptive than one might like. After all, we know Shakespeare didn't write kiddie lit!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Book bug

We've had a bit of a busy week around here, what with running one kid to school in the morning and then rushing back home to start our schoolday here. Add to that various other commitments (gymnastics, Wed. evening church, grocery shopping, etc.) I keep meeting myself coming and going, it seems. I'm hoping for a more relaxed weekend. It should be, since I won't need to get groceries or run any other major errands that I can think of. It will be lovely if we can just sit right here until time to go to church on Sunday morning.

I was talking to a friend on the phone today about going to Barnes & Noble the other night and not buying anything... and wishing I had. (We're watching our spending a little bit right now.) She came up with a great idea for those of us who want to read Christian literature (fiction or nonfiction), which is often nearly impossible to find in public libraries. Wouldn't it be cool if someone developed a rental system for these books kind of like the one NetFlix and have developed for movies? I think that would totally rock! Then if you really liked the book and wanted to spend the money on it, you could buy it. Sure could save someone for feeling like they wasted good money on a bad read. So who's going to start up this enterprise?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

To everything there is a season

So today we said goodbye to Jarrod and Lauren. They're beginning a new chapter in their lives together as he takes a new ministry position in Texas at the Riverside Church of Christ there. It was definitely a bittersweet time with emotions on both ends of the spectrum. I'm very excited for them and know that they will both be a blessing to the people in Texas. But at the same time, I will miss having them in our lives. They've been so accepting and welcoming to us since we arrived here in California; I had begun to think of Jarrod as a much wiser little brother. Dealing with their departure is a little tough; I'm still trying to heal from our move last year. I know good things will come of it all, though. Maybe I've finally convinced Jarrod to start blogging!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Everyone's Hero

Joel had a great day today. He was the first one up and ran to me saying, "Today's my birthday!" I tried to convince him that today was Saturday and that he slept through his birthday, but he wouldn't buy it. It was good for a few minutes of laughter and teasing, though. Mornings with him are usually full of teasing, like when he asks for breakfast and I tell him, "Nope, today's an odd-numbered day; you only get breakfast on even-numbered days." So of course, he wasn't buying my "slept-through-your-birthday" scam.

Joel opened his presents after Brian got home from work. He was quite thrilled with everything. I played another sneaky trick by hiding the GameCube game inside one of his PoTC toys. He got quite a kick out of that. He and Noah have spent quite a bit of time playing it tonight.

We did go to Godfather's for pizza and then off to see Everyone's Hero. I can't say enough good things about this movie. It was a true G-rated film, with a message of "keep swinging" to encourage kids to never give up. My kids thought it was great.

Everyone was too full from dinner and movie snacks to eat cake tonight. However, we did sing Happy Birthday, light the candles, and have Joel blow them out; we'll eat some tomorrow.

Tomorrow looks to be busy. We plan on going to a Kidfest in downtown Vacaville, plus Halle is invited to a birthday sleepover over in Antioch tomorrow. Brian and I were hoping to finally go out to dinner to celebrate our 20th anniversary (we'd only be a month late if we do it tomorrow). We'll have to see if we can fit it in.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Twas the night before a birthday

Joel has been keeping the countdown for over 2 months now, keeping track of the days till his birthday. Tonight, he said he was in a hurry for bedtime to come, because then his birthday would be here when he woke up. Smart thinking! Needless to say, when bedtime rolled around, we heard no whining or complaining. (Actually, we rarely hear any from him... he's usually fairly ready for bed by then.)

In a little while, we'll pull out the gifts from hiding and get them wrapped. He's having a Pirates of the Caribbean kind of birthday, with the majority of his gifts being related to that movie (some PoTC jigsaw puzzles and Jack Sparrow dress-up clothes/sword). He's also getting a Star Wars LEGO game for the GameCube. Brian also went to Raley's earlier this afternoon to order a PoTC cake for tomorrow. I think Joel will be pretty happy with his birthday.

Tomorrow is also the day Emily returns from her 2-night retreat with her school. I'm looking forward to hearing how it was. I'm sure she will have plenty of stories to tell!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tuesday stuff

Fun times today... the kids' new math books arrived yesterday afternoon, so Halle and Joel both got to start work in them today (Noah has a couple more lessons to get through before he gets to dive into his new one.). Joel absolutely loved his book; he is doing Math-U-See's Alpha book this year. Halle is doing the Beta one, and Noah will be starting Delta.

Emily is getting ready to go on a 2-night retreat with her school tomorrow. They leave in the morning and will get back by Friday afternoon. It sounds like she will have fun. She plans on playing paintball while there. Sure wish I could see that!

Things are gearing up for Joel's 6th birthday this Friday. He hasn't decided where he wants to eat for dinner yet. I'm guessing he is going to wind up choosing Godfather's Pizza. Maybe we'll go to the movies that evening as well.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I remember

We were on our way to Disney World to celebrate my youngest’s first birthday. We left Dayton, OH early that morning and landed at Newark around 8 a.m. After we arrived at our departure gate, we went to find drinks/breakfast for everyone. On our way back, I remember looking out the window and remarking to my husband, “That looks like the Empire State Building.” (At this point, I had no idea we were so close to NYC.) As we got a little closer to the end of the terminal, we could see a large crowd gathering around the windows. The first tower had just been hit. We could see the smoke billowing from the building.

At this point, we had no clue as to whether this was an accident or intentional. Seeing the second tower hit a few minutes later seemed to answer this question for us. From somewhere overhead, an announcement was made that all flights were “delayed”; shortly afterwards, that was amended to “canceled.” It shames me to remember that my initial reaction was a selfish thought of how our vacation had been ruined. I think at that point, all I could really think about was *my* family and how the events had immediately impacted us. All I knew was what I could see from my vantage point across the river; I had no news coverage or commentary to tell me anything more.

We had nothing to do but stand/sit and watch until the loudspeakers boomed once more, announcing the evacuation of the airport. We joined a mass exodus to the airport grounds, carrying/pulling our carryon luggage, including a large carseat. We had 2 kids in arms and 2 walking, and we were trying desperately to keep an eye on the 2 walking so that we wouldn’t get separated, when we heard a voice next to us say, “Don’t worry, I’ll make sure they don’t get lost.” A very nice gentleman could see we had quite a bit to handle and helped us keep the kids close by us on the trek outside.

Once outside, we sat on the ground for what seemed an eternity. I have no clue how long it was; it may have only been an hour or so. However long it was, we were finally told that we couldn’t stay there indefinitely, but that everyone had to leave the airport grounds. To say the situation was stressful was an understatement. Here we were in a strange city at least 600 miles from our home… and we needed to find a way back. The lines for buses were horrendous, the taxi lines even more so. Brian noticed a man with a sign that said, “limo” on it and asked the man if he had room for us. He asked us what we needed, and we told him we needed to find a rental van or a place to stay for the night. He said he could help us with that. So began our introduction to Reggie Jackson.

It turns out that Reggie was a retired NYPD officer. He led us to his Mercedes sedan and loaded our things into the trunk. He drove us to one rental place, which wanted $200 for a van that they wanted returned to that office the next day. We really didn’t want to stay in Newark… we wanted to get *home*. He drove us to yet another place (it seemed to take forever) and waited while Brian talked with the rental agents there. We were able to get a reasonable rate there (and a van we could actually drive to OH, rather than just around Newark), and Reggie helped load our things. He’d spent at least 3 hours with us by this time. When Brian asked him how much we owed him, Reggie said, “$20.” We were overwhelmed at his generosity, and thankfully we were able to get him to take a little bit more than that. I think we count Reggie as our 9/11 hero. Things certainly would have turned out a little differently without him.

We only made it to Western PA that evening before stopping for the night. There were detours because of supposed bomb threats on bridges. We were still not sure of everything going on. Somehow I think that hearing the news on the radio was different than actually seeing it on television. We made it back to Dayton the following evening. Our luggage made it there that weekend. We weren’t sure when we’d attempt air travel as a family again… we bought our luggage-totin’ Yukon XL on the 20th of September.

Brian’s leave was canceled and he went back to work at the base hospital on Thursday. We were thankful that he wasn’t deployed anywhere until much later; he spent 3 months in Oman that next March through June. By the next year, our family is flying together again.

5 years later, we remember the day we all wish had never happened.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sunday night already?

Where did the weekend go?? While it was a productive one, filled with good things (time spent with the kids, necessary chores, stock-up shopping at CostCo), it sure seems like it went by quickly! Can't even begin to remember all the things that have happened since I last posted, other than school and chores.

Ah, Back to School Night... that was the big thing since my last post. We were able to meet most of Emily's teachers that night and would have met all of them if we had stayed longer. We had no idea when we went what the exact makeup of the night was going to be, or how long it would last. Basically, it was from 6:30 to 9, where the last hour or so was spent following your child's schedule; each "class" lasted about 10 minutes. We "skipped" choir and PE, her last 2 classes of the day. It was after 8:30 and no one in the family had had dinner. But we were very impressed with most of her teachers, and I (being the geek I am) found myself wishing I could go back to school there.

Not much else happened the rest of the week, but we had a very nice lunch today after church. We were lucky to catch another family with no plans for lunch and they turned us on to a great Chinese restaurant, Tao San Jin. Definitely the best Chinese food we've had since moving out here. I can see it becoming a regular hangout.

Sorry it's been so boring around the blog lately. I'll try to remedy that soon.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Past, present, and future

We got quite a bit accomplished over the long weekend. Brian was able to get the yardwork done and also handled folding and putting away a lot of laundry while I did school with the kids on Monday (we didn't take the day off from schooling; it was just too soon after getting started to start taking a break).

We've also finally started getting pictures hung. I had previously gotten one room done (the front living room), but everything else has been waiting. We managed to get 3 or 4 pictures done last night. Hopefully we can do a few more tonight, but that will have to wait until after we get back from "Back to School Night" at Emily's school. It will be interesting to see what goes on, since it will be our first experience with one of these. Emily did say that we are supposed to get our Powerschool logins and passwords tonight. I'm looking forward to getting to use this system; I had friends in Omaha whose childrens' schools used this and it seems like a great way to keep track of what and how the kids are doing.

Tomorrow night we are meeting Jarrod and Lauren (our preacher and his wife) for dinner before evening classes at church. It's our last chance for six-on-two time with them before they leave for TX in a few weeks. We're going to miss them.

Then Thursday night we are having the new youth minister, Kyle, over for dinner. I think all the kids are looking forward to having him over. Halle has been talking about playing games after dinner. I wonder if Kyle likes Apples to Apples??

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Time keeps on slipping

This has been a crazy-busy week, what with us starting up school here at home on Monday... plus Emily's first full week of not-homeschool. We're getting our morning and evening routines pretty well meshed out, and our school-day routine seems to be falling into place as well. I've almost got Joel convinced he doesn't have to raise his hand to go to the bathroom. Amazing what a few years of Sunday school can teach a kid.

Tonight we took the kids out for pizza and then came home to watch movies. Tomorrow I'll have to head out to the grocery store and we'll work on getting some things done around here. I also have to take Emily shopping for a few more shirts for school.

On Sunday, I get to try something new... with one of our 3 tenors gone off to school at Pepperdine, we're a little short, so I'm going to be stepping in to fill his slot that morning. There are a few spots that are a teeny bit low for me, but most of the notes are within my range. It's going to be interesting to say the least. Our rehearsal Wednesday night wasn't too bad, so I'm thinking all should be well on Sunday.

Hope everyone has a great Labor Day weekend!

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