Saturday, May 29, 2010

It’s finally here

About six weeks ago, my brother called me with an idea. He & his wife and boys wanted to fly up to WA from CA over Memorial Day weekend, for their son’s first birthday. The catch? The trip was to be a surprise to everyone but me – I could not tell my husband, my kids, or my parents.

The first step was to purchase the tickets. They bought one-way tickets up here with miles, but I had to drive to Bellingham and purchase their tickets home. Problem: How was I to do that? Ed takes care of the finances. He would notice a $160 charge to Allegiant or a $160 cash withdrawal with no explanation from me. What was I to do?

Enter a very good friend, who watched my kids while I drove to the airport (under the guise of doing GEMS business) and who loaned me $160 cash so I could pay for the tickets at the airport.

Over the course of the next six weeks, up until today, my life was full of lies and trying not to say the wrong thing to the wrong person and give away the surprise. I lied about the piano recital. I lied about where I went today. I lied about phone conversations. I lied about mailing birthday presents. I lied about oh, so many things. Lying really stresses me out. I begged Ed to guess because I just couldn’t stand it anymore. He couldn’t of course. And then he even forgot that he knew I was planning “something.”

Plus, I was soooooo excited about the visit and the surprise. I’ve been jittery for weeks.

This morning I drove to Seattle to pick up my brother and his family (under the guise of going to garage sales with another very good friend) and dropped them off at my sister-in-law’s family in a nearby town. Later on, my parents came over for games and dinner and were surprised (along with my kids and hubby) by the arrival of  my brother, his wife, and his two adorable boys. Everyone was actually surprised! No one had figured anything out and it was so awesome. We had dinner, a birthday party, a one-year-old digging into cake, cousins giggling, and 12 smiling people in my house today.

I am so relieved to be able to live in the truth again!

And we are all looking forward to 3 days of family togetherness.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Carter!

My sweet nephew is 1 year old today! Carter, your smile makes me smile and your sparkling eyes make me want to pick you up and laugh right along with you. I miss you so much and I hope we get to see you soon! I am so looking forward to having you here at Christmas – what fun you will be this year and it will be our first Christmas with you!

Happy Birthday, Katie-bug!

This little thing is two today! Katie-bug, you are such a sweet little person. I know your mother calls you The Destroyer, but that’s just because you are challenging her in ways she’s never been challenged before. Just keep it up. It’s good for her. I love the way your eyes light up when you see the people you love, like Holly, and Aunt Sally, and I love the way you follow Sam (and my girls) around. You’re the perfect little sister. And since we have you around, Elise doesn’t need a little sister and that’s good news for me! One of these days it’ll stop raining and I’ll take your two-year-old photos. Have a fun birthday!! Go destroy your cake!

The Bathroom and the Thumb

As I was typing that title, I realized it sounds like a fable. I thought about trying to actually write this post as a fable, but I decided not to. Life is too complicated to mess with fables.

First, the bathroom:

_MG_2254 For some reason my children think it’s acceptable to leave the bathroom looking like this, or worse. I decided I had had enough. I made them clean it, of course, and then threatened to confiscate any items not put away in the future. They would have to buy those items back from me, in addition to cleaning the bathroom. I was informed that Daddy would not like it if I took away their toothbrushes. I said “Just TRY me.” (Insert evil laugh here). I think I actually scared them, or a couple of them anyway. So far, I have not been tested in this. They are putting things away. They are lucky.

Second, the thumb:

_MG_2266 This is the thumb of an almost-four-year-old after being caught in the back end of an automatic sliding van door. Swollen, tender, discolored. Ouch. I felt so badly for her. It happened in the Target parking lot, at the beginning of our errands. Why is it that one little event like that can completely throw off your entire day? I don’t know. Anyway, she was screaming and crying and hyperventilating. We drove to Logos, borrowed stole some ice (not gonna return it, after all), and headed for home. I gave her some ibuprofen and she survived. She doesn’t hold a cup or anything with that hand and you just don’t realize how much you use your thumbs until you can’t use one of them!

_MG_2264 Poor baby girl. I felt so awful for her. She was all worried that it would hurt at her preschool picnic today, but not to worry, Elise. It’s pouring down rain. I don’t think you’re gonna have your picnic today. Perhaps next week.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Time for a change

I've had that previous blog design for a long time and have been sick of it for a while now. My computer-genius husband had figured out how to make my blog look like I wanted it to look, but it takes some time. When I started talking about redesigning he groaned and said, "Why don't you just get a pre-made one for a while?" Yeah, things are *that* busy. I'd love to get a custom design on my blog like Dee but I don't have the connections she does. So, I had to settle for a free design from, as you can see from the ugly stamp on the upper left, Hot Bliggity Blog. It won't last forever. I hope.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

High Low

Have you ever played the “High Low” game? It’s where everyone in the group or family has to tell their “High” from the last week or day and everyone has to tell their “Low” from the past week or day. You can also play “Happy Cr---“, but since this is a family-friendly blog, I’ll stick to the Highs and Lows from the past week or so.

_MG_2146 High: I used to have one of these. Loved it. Broke it. Thought I could make salsa without it. Was wrong. Bought a new one. Can’t wait to use it.

_MG_2147 Low: Multiple hail and rainstorms flattened these peonies.

_MG_2155 _MG_2157High: The Calla Lilies are blooming. See those raindrops? Yeah, those are the ones that flattened the peonies.

_MG_2184 Low: This was on Becca’s field trip, which was of course a High, but the point of this picture is to see that I am still having focus trouble on my camera (Low). We do think we know what is wrong with it (High) and we don’t think it’ll be too expensive to fix (High) but the closest place that can fix it is about 90 minutes+ away (Low).

_MG_2191 High: Pushing Becca on the swings was one of the fun things we did together on her field trip.

_MG_2216 High: Taking a nature walk with her class.

_MG_2227 High: Shopping and dinner with the 7th/8th grade GEMS. We had so much fun.

_MG_2226 Double High: Mini Rich Chocolate Cake for dessert. It was scrumptious. As was my Baked Cheese Tortellini at Johnny Carino’s. DE. LISH.

IMHO, Olive Garden is like a hotdog compared to Carino’s.

_MG_2233 High: I cut those flattened peony buds and brought them into the house and placed various bouquets around the house. They have opened, as they always do, and are bringing fragrance and joy into the house.

_MG_2245 _MG_2230

It was a strange week; chock full of “stuff” and late nights other “Lows”. I’m just not taking as many pictures with my camera since it’s frustrating to deal with the focus issue. Stay tuned for some videos soon. I hope.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gratituesday List

I am thankful for…(in no particular order)

*the rain today

*Isaiah 43

*the teachers at our school

*these flowers:_MG_2116*and this:_MG_2135

*and the fact that these peonies always act like they’re never going to open, and then, always, they do: _MG_2117

*God is faithful

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Soccer is our life, apparently

I went to get the last week’s worth of photos off my camera. All soccer pictures. I am pretty sure we have done other things, other than watch 4 soccer games, but apparently none of them were deemed photo worthy. Enjoy the soccer photos!

_MG_1770 Last week Saturday. Becca getting instruction from her coach on how to throw the ball in from the sidelines.

_MG_1838 Last week, Saturday. Bethany throwing the ball in. I tried to edit this picture, but the color looks weird now. Sorry about that.

_MG_1848 Last week Saturday. The game where Bethany’s team got pushed around. Literally.

_MG_1853 This past Tuesday. One of my potential future-sons-in-law going in for the kick.

_MG_1856 This past Tuesday. Nice kick, my boy!

_MG_1889 This past Tuesday. This is one of Becca’s almost goals, but that goalie was too good for a Kindergartener.

_MG_1944 Taking a break at today’s game.

_MG_1946 Poor Sam. He was injured. But he and his mom came to cheer on the team anyway. What team spirit! Thanks, guys! I’m sure if you had played we would have won by even more, but your cheering sure helped!

_MG_1947 Today’s game. Becca played great! She got really close to scoring some goals – just needs to kick it a bit harder. Their team won and had a great time!

_MG_1996 Today’s game. Bethany played awesome today. She gave 110% and really got in there and fought for the ball. Their team lost, but it was a great season and a good experience for all of us.

_MG_2042 Bethany’s team.

_MG_2056 I wish I could say I was going for the motion blur effect on this one, but it was pure accident. Isn’t it cool? I just wish those people weren’t standing in the background. Then it would be a perfect picture. Go, Bethany, go!

_MG_2059 Today’s game. Going for it.

_MG_2110 Bethany listening to Coach. I am so grateful to him for making this a good experience for Bethany, for being encouraging and teaching her so much and making it fun at the same time.

I intend to post more than soccer from now on, even though we have 3 more Kindergarten soccer games left.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A List

1. I haven’t blogged in a while but there hasn’t been too much to blog about. I realized (too late) that my most recent blog post was entitled “The past few days”, but it was actually only about one day. I *meant* to include Saturday stuff in that, but I didn’t. I haven’t had a chance to edit last Saturday’s soccer photos. The short version of last Saturday’s soccer is: we lost. Becca lost. Bethany lost. The shortened version of the long version of Bethany’s game is that the other team was made up of giant 10 year old girls. Mean, giant 10 year old girls, as a matter of fact. Our girls got pinched and shoved and tripped. It was not pretty.

2. Sunday was Mother’s Day. The girls gave me lovely cards and artwork and Ed gave me a CD I had been wanting. We had a yummy lunch at my parents and then came home and I took a nap in my lounge chair on the patio in the sun. Very nice.

3. Monday night was my GEMS Counselor party. I spent most of the day shopping and baking and prepping for that. I LOVE that evening. It is such fun to give my counselors the gift of a girls’ night out and to love on them for a while. It’s also the “Secret Sister Reveal”, so there are additional women there who have been praying for our counselors all year long and they reveal their identity at that event. So. much. fun.

4. Tuesday was my scrapbooking day during which I worked on The Booklet. That phrase will (hopefully) soon no longer be part of our vocabulary.

5. I did also have the chance to go to a local nursery and purchase a beautiful hanging basket for my front porch. I’ll take a picture someday.

6. Oh yes, and my camera. It is not working properly. It’s a focus issue. I hope to take it in next Tuesday.

7. My last Coffee Break was Wednesday. I love Coffee Break. I’d go all summer if I could. I will miss it.

8. Sarah left on Wednesday morning for Outdoor Education. This is a 3-day trip for sixth graders to a camp up near the mountain. She was SOOOOOO excited. As we drove to school with all her stuff that morning she said, “I’m excited and nervous all at the same time! It feels like the first day of school!” Only she said it in about 1/10 of a second she was talking so fast and excitedly! We are so thankful that they are having good weather while they are up there! What a blessing. They will truly get to relish God’s beautiful creation. I am just praying she doesn’t get sick, lost, or poison ivy. Or any of the other many things that mothers worry about.

9. Today I took hot lunch to Bethany and then Ed & I had a lovely dinner out tonight with two couples from church. We’ve only been trying to find a date that worked for about two months. Finally! It happened. We didn’t get to play Settlers, as it’s a school night and we had to get the kids home and to bed (they were at one of the other couples’ homes, since Sarah isn’t around to babysit). Even so, it was a fun evening out and the food (well, at least mine) was yummy!

10. Tomorrow will involve visiting a friend on bed rest, picking up Sarah (yay!), and another dinner out with some Logos friends. Saturday will involve at least two soccer games, some work on The Booklet, probably mowing the lawn, and countless other things. Sure am looking forward to that day of rest on Sunday!

11. Yesterday morning all of a sudden Becca started crying and showed me her front tooth, which is permanent, and which is chipped. I couldn’t believe it! I didn’t know what she had done. Apparently it happened the day before at school on the bars, but she was afraid to tell us because she doesn’t want to go to the dentist. I had to comfort her by telling her the story of how her uncle and I were fighting when we were little and he tried to hit me, I ducked, and hit the counter and chipped my tooth. There’s a chip in the formica to this day. So, next Tuesday I have to bring her to the dentist to have the tooth fixed. Poor thing.

12. There have been a number of hard things going on with people I know & love and that’s been consuming much of my thoughts and prayers lately. God brought to my mind a song from long ago, from our days with only one child, in our previous church, called “Be Not Afraid” by Craig Courtney a couple of days ago. It is based on Isaiah 43:1-3, which says: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” If you ever have the chance to hear that song, take it. It’s beautiful. It’s based on a beautiful passage, and the song itself is memorable.

13. Another verse that I came to cling to (because I’m a mom and I worry and fear everything) over the course of the year in my Coffee Break group is from Isaiah 46:16: "See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Beth Moore explained this by describing how when we hold something tightly, it makes an imprint on the palm of our hand. God holds us so tightly that we are engraved on the palms of His hands. A friend reminded me of that verse again recently and I said “Yes! Thank you, Lord for your promises of walking with us and holding us tightly.”

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The past two days

_MG_1614On Friday I had the pleasure of attending the Mother’s Tea in Becca’s Kindergarten classroom. When the moms arrive, each child escorts them into the room, pulls out the chair for their mom, and then sits on their mom’s lap. It is the sweetest thing. I then received a card from Becca and a cookbook made by the class. The class puts on a number of little skits (above, Becca is singing “Zaccheus” after the skit she was in) and sings some fun songs. Then we have treats and lemonade together. It is a fun morning!_MG_1624Friday happened to also be a half day of school. It was a beautifully sunny and warm day, so the girls were playing outside with all the neighbor girls. It was the cutest thing…there were about 8 little neighbor girls all riding bikes up and down the street. Then they played for a while and we started to hear some thunder rolling over the hills to the east. The sky grew dark and these storm clouds drew nearer as the thunder increased. We brought all the girls inside just as it started to pour! _MG_1630I was a bit concerned, because the plan was to head to Boulevard Park and have a picnic with my folks to celebrate my mom’s birthday. Ugh, with the rain? But, it wasn’t raining to the west of us, in fact, it was bright and sunny with blue skies! So, we went for it, and boy, am I glad we did! What a gorgeous evening on the water!_MG_1635_MG_1657Rolling down the grassy hill is always fun – just imagine, if you will, the giggling…  _MG_1667When we go to places like this, Sarah tends to drift off, exploring, imaging fantasy and action stories in her mind, and sometimes Ed manages to locate her and they have a little dad/daughter time._MG_1691Climbing trees_MG_1693Bethany wasn’t all that far off the ground here, so when she said, “Look, Mom! I’m a risk taker!” I wasn’t real impressed. Then she added, “I’m out on a limb!” with a big grin. Totally cracked me up!!_MG_1763A beautiful sunset _MG_1731 And my beautiful girls

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Green Leaves

Becca’s soccer team named themselves The Green Leaves. We thought maybe they’d try to be The Green Gators or something equally vicious. But no, they’re leaves. Falling leaves. Literally. _MG_1561

The first game they lost 4-1. This last game…well, I lost track of how many goals The Gray Hotshots scored. I didn’t lose track of how many the Leaves scored because we didn’t score any. Becca almost scored one at the beginning of the game. And another girl almost scored one at the end of the game. Unfortunately, almost doesn’t count in soccer.

Becca played goalie for the last 6 minutes. She did great.

_MG_1465 _MG_1581 She blocked about 7 goal attempts. The only one she didn’t block went into the goal after ricocheting off the goal post. It would have been hard for Mia Hamm to block. (She’s a soccer player, right?) Shows how much I know.

I do however, know that this little Gray Hotshot much prefers picking grass to playing soccer:

_MG_1461_MG_1463Kindergarten soccer is interesting because once a child “gets” something, they tend to just do that one thing. For example, one little girl on the Leaves really caught on to that if the other team is threatening to score a goal, you can kick the ball out of bounds to prevent them from scoring. So every time she can kick the ball, she kicks it out of bounds. On purpose. It’s hilarious. To a point. And then. Well. It’s not so funny. I’m glad I’m not the coach. The coach is always saying things like: “Hey, great kick! Next time, try kicking it even farther down the field, okay? Great job! Give me 5, kiddo!” And then she takes a deep breath, giggles, smiles, and continues coaching. She’s awesome.

Kindergarten soccer is interesting because there’s this herd-mentality. The coaches do a great job of setting all the kids into their positions, forwards, defenders, right side, left side, middle, etc. _MG_1487They get everybody all set up, blow the whistle, the ball enters the field and WHOOSH! In a flash every single kid that cares is in a herd around the ball. _MG_1484_MG_1494There are a few kids who are looking at the clouds or watching the bug walk over their shoe that don’t get involved in the herd. And then, a minute later, as the herd and the ball move around the field, the ball goes out of bounds and the coaches start all over again. Set all the kids into place, blow the whistle, and WHOOSH! Over and over and over. The whole thing cracks me up. I love Kindergarten Soccer. It’s especially nice that there is no scorekeeper.