Sunday, December 30, 2007

Since it's not quite 2008...'s still appropriate for me to share our Christmas Day festivities with you. Right?

"Mom! Dad! Wake up! WAKE UP!!! It's Christmas! Come ON!!!"

"Dad, seriously. Hurry up and let us come down stairs!"

We try to organize the chaos. They all open one at a time... together.

I was wrong. There WERE legos under the tree.

"Can I open this one now? Now? NOW?"


"What in the world is..."

"Awww... SWEET!!!"

"But, I don't know what it is! Mom, what is it? Can I open it? Is it REALLY for ME?"

Pure joy. Prayed for and greatly anticipated. (A huge you'll-never-know-how-much-this-truly-meant thank you to her benefactors... if you ever read this.)

The kiddie table.

The grown-up table... complete with two sets of grandparents, a cousin, and a good friend.

Rockets can't just sit in the package, they need to be launched!

Our gifts may differ from Christmas to Christmas. We may share the day with different people each year. But we always end the celebration the same way. Happy Birthday, Jesus. We hope you like Cherry Cheese Pie.
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Saturday, December 29, 2007

May 16th, 2008

Do you even KNOW how EXCITED I am??!!!???!!?
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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Un-Decking Your Halls

The "putting it up" process is so much more fun than the "taking it down" one. But, the latter is every bit as necessary if you decide to go ahead with the former. I found a few helpful tips in this little gem of an article from the geniuses at Real Simple. Because they're real... and simple. And even though I don't have a paper shredder, I can wield my masking tape and marker well.
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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

The children are nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of hoped-for toys dance in their heads.
The stockings all lay by the chimney with care,
Since we have no mantel they cannot hang there.
And I in my lounge pants and Nate in his shorts
Have once more become Santa's secret cohorts.
A prayed-for piano is wrapped by the wall
And presents are piled 'neath the Christmas Tree, tall.
Remote controlled cars, a bike, and some clothes,
Barbies and pirate swords, yet no legos.
We'll retreat up to bed for a few hours sleep
Before morning sun brings us those scampering feet.
But somewhere amidst all the wrapping and gifts
This house will remember what many will miss...

Happy Birthday, Jesus. Our God is MIGHTY to SAVE!!!

Merry Christmas,
from the White House

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Come On, Ring That Bell...

Last night we had the wonderful chance again to ring the Salvation Army bell as a family outside of Albertson's. Funny how few things change, save for my shoes and the height of my children.


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Secret Santa

What a fun article. Giving changes people... both those that receive and those that give. You may not have $100 bills to hand out, but you have a smile, a wink, a hug for a stranger.

"How do you change the world? One random act of kindness at a time."

Merry Christmas.
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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Difference

Nate was getting ready to leave for work. I was standing in our closet staring at my clothes.

"What are you doing?" He innocently asked.

"I don't know what to wear to your Squadron Christmas Party."

"You have plenty of time to figure that out."

"No, I don't."

"Yes, you do. You have a WHOLE DAY."

"Exactly! I ONLY have ONE DAY!"
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Thursday, December 13, 2007

To Have Someone - an addendum

It seems an earlier post may have caused some friction among my readers. While friction is not always a negative thing (remember that iron sharpens iron), I wanted to clarify some thoughts and maybe add a few more.

I am not saying it is better to be with the wrong someone than to be alone, in any kind of relationship.

What I am saying is that relationships take work. Lots of work. Friendships take investment. Marriage requires more than anyone initially going into one fully realizes. Relatives require openness, honesty, and lots of love.

Love is a choice. Our society has turned it into an emotion, and while certain emotions are at times attached to the action, staying in love requires a commitment to a choice... whether that's staying in love with a spouse, a parent, a friend...

But, let me reiterate, I am not saying it is better to be with the wrong person.

Having said all that, let me say this:

"If God doesn't build the house, the builders only build shacks.
If God doesn't guard the city, the night watchmen might as well nap."
-Psalms 127:1-2 (Message)

All relationships should be built on a solid Foundation. A relationship built on any other foundation can be easily washed away come hell or high water.

All relationships should be submitted to Christ. Our ultimate relationship is with Him, and all other relationships should be under His leading.

I have seen marriages that God built. They were beautiful and strong, but slowly these people pulled away, not allowing God to continue to guard their marriage. They fell apart for lack of care. After 25 plus amazing years, tears fell from my eyes as those who I looked up to separated because they had "grown apart." 25 years!

I have seen marriages that God did not build. They were rocky and tumultuous, and then one day they realized they didn't have a firm Foundation. They turned to God, allowing him to rebuild what had been torn down and continuously guard their hearts. I am inspired by the glowing relationship that has resulted.

The bottom line is that if God is not at the center of our relationships, they can easily crumble.

"But what my mind is lingering on is, what about those people that DO have the option? Why is our divorce rate so high? Do we throw in the towel too quickly? Do those that truly have an option just get tired? Tired of dealing with whom they're with? Do we just get tired of mending relationships? Confronting friends when they hurt us? It's as if our friendships have grown disposable. If it doesn't work the way we want we throw it out and hope the next one is better."

All relationships take hard work. Our society wants things fast, easy. We're not really ever quite ready to make a commitment. We want the benefits of what we want, but not the solid 'til-death-do-us-part part. That way if things get too tough we haven't made QUITE the investment and don't have as much to lose. Our society seems rarely willing to make the commitment and put in the hard work that ANY relationship requires.

We've been given the blueprint for success, we simply think our ways of doing things are better.

We make mistakes. Other people make mistakes. There is infinite grace for every situation when we turn to God for wisdom and insight, but how often do we do that? And there will always be consequences. Infinite grace does not mean natural consequences are taken away. Amidst the fallen nature of our world, we will suffer consequences for others' actions as well as our own. That's a hard pill to swallow.

God does have infinite grace for those who turn to Him. Infinite. Never-ending. Never-ending grace. It does not end. Because we WILL make mistakes and others' mistakes WILL affect us. But, I want to follow HIS blueprint so I will make fewer mistakes, so my relationships will be built on a firm Foundation. I will face trials. I want to face them with Him as my center. If He wasn't at my center, Lord knows I would have left Nate and his "everything has its place in the pantry and the pantry has a place for everything" self a long time ago. And you know what? If He wasn't at Nate's center he would have left my "I can't remember what you said to me two seconds ago let alone two days ago" self even longer ago. And if God wasn't at a certain friend's center, she never would have persevered with our relationship after Montana misunderstandings and distance tried to separate us.

"If God doesn't build the house, the builders only build shacks.
If God doesn't guard the city, the night watchmen might as well nap."
-Psalms 127:1-2 (Message)

I am so thankful God is my center. I will screw up... others will screw up... but He will protect the city He built.
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Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Finally! The inside of the house was *mostly* decorated, but I never feel like things are quite Christmas-y until the outside has a touch of lighted cheer. Not that there are white icicle lights adorning the eves. We HAVE white icicle lights, they're just not doing any adorning right now. I wish they were, but that's another blog for another time. At least my entryway is looking bright and festive.

Don't you think it needs a bench? A bench to perch upon in my entryway? And maybe a table? A table to set a cup of tea on in my entryway? And maybe some potted plants? Maybe ones like these? Or like these? And maybe something fun and bright, like a little antique tricycle? Or a snow shovel, to remind me that there is snow somewhere in the country? Or maybe an old wooden sled? Hmmm? Yes. Me, too.
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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

To Have Someone

A busy day. A very busy day. It's quiet now, but tomorrow will be very busy again.

I heard words spoken this evening that just rang in my ears. You know those times when something in you catches, your heart beats a little harder in your chest, and your brain lingers so long to process thoughts that you forget where you are and what you're doing? Your eyes glaze over and you're seeing, but not really seeing because you're too busy with the pictures inside your head?

"I think it's better to have someone. Even if it hurts... even if it's the most painful thing you have to do... even if it's the most painful thing you ever have to do. I think it's better to have someone."

I'm watching a divorce happen. I've just come across a divorce that has recently happened. I'm a witness to someone deciding whether or not to go forward with a divorce. And I see the pain, the loneliness. They hope there will be others. The grass is always greener...

I'm watching a friendship be thrown away. I've just come across a friendship that has recently been thrown away, never to be recoverable. I'm a witness to someone deciding whether or not to go throw a friendship away. And I see the pain, the loneliness. They promise themselves there will be others. The grass is always greener...

The thing is, I'm not judging what's happening in these situations. I'm not saying that there was an option for these people, because sometimes there's just not. Sometimes there's just. not. an. option. Sometimes we do what we can to survive, to help our kids survive.

But what my mind is lingering on is, what about those people that DO have the option? Why is our divorce rate so high? Do we throw in the towel too quickly? Do those that truly have an option just get tired? Tired of dealing with whom they're with? Do we just get tired of mending relationships? Confronting friends when they hurt us? It's as if our friendships have grown disposable. If it doesn't work the way we want we throw it out and hope the next one is better.

To those that don't have a choice, when there's not an option, I pray that you have other someones in your life to uphold you and support you. I know at least two of you who I'm specifically thinking about right now... you've have had other someones. I know others of you who I'm specifically thinking about right now who haven't. You've hoped a someone would come along, only to regret leaving the someone that you had. I've had these conversations. They're hard to be on the listening end of... but I can't imagine being on the talking end.

But to those who have a choice, don't throw in your towel. Don't throw away your option. Work. And then work harder. It hurts, and it's painful, and it's not easy, and you want to give up, and you think you've been forgotten about, but don't let go of your someone...

"I think it's better to have someone. Even if it hurts... even if it's the most painful thing you have to do... even if it's the most painful thing you ever have to do. I think it's better to have someone."
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Friday, December 7, 2007

The Golden Compass

I've heard so many things about this movie. The trailers look good... very Narnia like... but then I did some checking out on my own. Parents be warned. You can go to and read about it yourself. Or here. Or here.

It's not that the movie will do so much damage, but the books parents will buy their children for Christmas. Everything starts with a seed. What will you plant? What will you continue to water?

Sometimes it's easy for me to get frustrated with our culture. Whatever impact Christians make in today's society (Narnia, for example), there is always a counter that attempts to wipe it out. But you know what?

We have already won!!! I take refuge in the fact that my God has already won this battle... for me, for my children, for my children's children...

and hopefully for you, for your children, for your children's children.

There ARE sides. Which one are you on?
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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Sassy Shoe Thursday: A Conundrum

I was at my salon today. (And for those of you involved in the ongoing discussion, no, I did not go dark. I wanted to. I was ready. It's a long story. Hopefully in January.) I love going there. They treat you well, everyone feels like a good friend. I'm sitting in the chair getting my hair prepped for my cut when I hear behind me,

"Those are great boots!"

"Thanks," another voice replies "I wear them all the time. My fiance's Rottweiler seems to like them, too, because he's always chewing on them. I don't know why. They're not real leather. You'd think a dog would chew on shoes that were real leather."

"Huh," the first voice says, "Well, good thing he doesn't destroy them. They're cute."


I look in the mirror to see whose standing behind me, stretching my neck to get a glimpse of the great boots. I can see the girl, but not her footwear. Darn it. I'm about to turn around when I catch a break and she walks past my chair.

Wait a minute. Was that the girl who just received the compliment? Her boots aren't cute. They're actually outdated and boring. But the other girl just said they're cute. Maybe the boots ARE cute to HER. I glance to my right to see who it was that made the compliment. Oh, my gosh. She's adorable and stylish, totally trendy with her cute asymmetric pixie cut. Thoughts are flashing through my head. Did she really think they were cute? But she obviously has style, therefore knowing they're not. Wait a minute...


it was an empty compliment. She didn't think they were cute at all. It was obvious she was showing the first girl around the salon, was she just trying to make her comfortable? Was she trying to "get in good?" Compliments can do that. My mind flashes back to that scene in Mean Girls when Lindsey Lohan figures out that the head mean girl was lying when she said she liked her bracelet.

Now, it's not always fully possible to be truthful in a situation when you're cornered. A friend and I were talking about that a few weeks ago. If a friend is totally ecstatic about the top she just bought and, "don't you just LOVE it?" comes flying out of her mouth, what do you say? If they're a close-close-you-talk-about-everything-friend and you're not out in public you might be able to say, "Hmm, well... it's alright. I think that a different fit would be more complimentary." (Now, if you're at a dinner party and she asks you what you think, you tell her she looks amazing and break the truth gently later.) But, if it's someone that would be crushed by your honest observation, what do you do? Especially if they don't often make attempts at fashion and you're so proud of them for at least TRYing something outside of their comfort zone? Maybe a spoonful of sugar will make the medicine go down easier, but when we withhold the medicine altogether.

What if a friend tells me the "truth" about an item of clothing and I don't agree with her? We all have different tastes, and "to each his own." But when I attempted to convey to a friend last spring who loves her slightly pegged, high waisted jeans that maybe she should try a lower waisted straight-leg or bootcut jean because it would be more flattering to her figure, and the response I got was something akin to, "but I've worn this style forever. It's so comfortable. And who really cares..." ugh.

"To each his own," but your "own" makes you look like you're in the Saturday Night Live Mom Jean commercial.

Now, in the salon situation the compliment was not sought out. No opinion was ever asked for. The second girl just gave the empty compliment without warning. Now, I've also had this conversation. A friend caught his wife giving an empty compliment and confronted her about it later. "You didn't like that woman's shoes at all. I'm not even a shoe person and I didn't like them. They were ugly. Why did you compliment her?"

"Oh, babe. Sometimes things like that are just necessary."

Now, this statement also seems true. But, again, I find myself wondering if people have given me empty compliments because "it was necessary." Would I want them to do that? NO! So, would another woman want ME to do that to HER? Probably not. And yet salon girl 2 just did it to salon girl 1.

If honesty is what we're striving for, then why do we do this? Over the last few years I've truly been trying not to. I've made a conscious decision to not offer up compliments unless I really think they are warranted. I don't want someone to give me one unless they really think it's true, so shouldn't I do the same for others? Sometimes it's difficult. When I'm with a group of girlfriends and compliment one on their shoes, do others wonder why I didn't compliment theirs, too? At times it is that I only notice one pair in particular, or the conversation shoots in another direction too quickly to return to the original observation. But other times it's just that, well, I don't want to give an empty compliment. If I tell friend 1 that I love her necklace, but don't say the same thing to friend 2 who is standing right there and also wearing a necklace, am I shunning friend 2? Does she feel on the outs? Is it awkward? Oh, my thoughts could drive me crazy.

Maybe we should just always, always be truthful no matter what. I mean, that's what I teach my kids! (Except at weddings, and then you tell the bride everyone is gorgeous and she could not have POSSibly chosen better bridesmaids' dresses because they are so incredibly perfect for the occasion.)

So, to salon girl 2 I say that you should have withheld the compliment from salon girl 1. The boots were not attractive, and you knew it full well. If the compliment was absolutely necessary to break tension, build relationship, change the subject, she's your boss, whatEVer... then you should have picked something better. Her green sweater was fine.

So then, that raises another issue, are we perpetuating bad fashion... or a lack of good fashion... by giving empty compliments? When salon girl 2 goes to put on her outdated, boring boots is she going to think they're just fine because salon girl 1 told her they were cute, and, after all, salon girl 2 was cute and stylish? So she must have been right. Right? But it will be wrong. And when what she really needs to do is go treat herself to a nice, stylish new pair of boots she'll keep wearing the outdated, boring ones because she'll think they're cute.

Oh, the humanity. The humanity of it all.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

99 Balloons

Take six minutes. Watch this. Tissue required.
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Monday, December 3, 2007

It's Official.

Okay. The Christmas Season can begin. The White House has their tree up. I just thought I'd let everyone know.

Nate wrestled the glorious Costco beauty into place Saturday, and I followed with the fluffing of the branches. Sunday (after naps) we decorated. I have to say, this is the earliest we have EVER had our tree up. I do not, nor will I ever, condone fake trees. But giving in to that movement has definitely boosted my husband's decorating participation, as well as his willingness to put up the tree December 1st... since we don't have to trudge out to any lots in order to accomplish this feat.

As usual, the ceremonial Hanging of the Husky Ornament was in order. This has been a tradition in our house (I'm rolling my eyes) since our second Christmas. (I naively gave Nate this ornament on our first Christmas, not knowing it would turn into such an item of reverence.)

The kids and I aren't allowed to put any other ornamentation on the tree until the blessed sphere has been placed on the highest possible branch. Then, and only then, can we commence decorating.

We tried to take our usual "kids in front of the tree after it's decorated" photo, but Ian wasn't cooperating. So I got in the picture. He still wouldn't come. Then Nate figured out how to get him in it anyway. Ahhhh... this is how memories are made. Twenty years from now Ian will look back and think we just didn't love him enough to include him in the photos. Then I'll pull out this one to prove that we loved him so much we got him into them anyway!

And here, for your up-close viewing pleasure, is the (blasted) blessed Husky ornament:

Merry Christmas, everyone. Officially.
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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sassy Shoe Thursday: Ugg-ly Love

Last winter I fell in love. From the outset I didn't find him attractive. When my friend in college touted his undying protection and faithfulness, I grimaced. When the nation was swept off its feet and he was a flash in the pan for many a mini-skirted celebrity, I swore I'd never. Then last Thanksgiving I was with a friend who had fallen victim to his warm heart, and... I fell, too. I borrowed her pink Uggs for a day to see what the big deal was and was a goner within minutes. My feet were warm! Because me feet were warm and cozy, so was the rest of me! It was like wearing publicly acceptable slippers all the time!

Christmas came and went, and he did not grace my closet. Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Anniversary, Birthday... nothing. Alas, my husband did not share my love!

But a girl can always count on Costco, can't she?

Another loving friend (Angela K! Get online so I can link you, darn it!) gave me some cold, hard cash for my birthday, and since no one else would do the deed... I did! I have to tell you, this could be one of the best purchases I've ever made. If you're not a believer, than you're missing out. Nate still calls them Ugg-lies, and I understand why. But they have quickly become my go-to pair with jeans tucked in... even sometimes with *gasp* shorts. I love them, love them, love them!!!

Now, these aren't real Uggs. Those are a pretty penny that cannot be allocated to such things at this time. These are the lovely Kirkland Signature knock-offs... and I couldn't be happier. All the warmth with none of the "Ah! My expensive boots!" stress.

And, for those who are wondering, Costco has them in two other colors. I'll take the Chocolate Brown, thank you very much... along with the cinnamon brown, just for posterity's sake.

Since these were a staple in this state long before they swept the rest of the nation, maybe I really am turning into a California girl. "I wish they all could be..."
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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Chivalry Only Goes So Far

While watching The Princess Bride for quite possibly the millionth time...

"Farm Boy! Fetch me that pitcher?"

*emotionally charged pause*

"As you wish." (My heart always flutters and a little squeal rises in my throat. Every. single. time.)

Ian: "Geez! She can reach it herself!"

"But, Ian," I try to explain through my laughter, "She's just realized that she loves him, and that he loves her very, very much!"

"Yeah, but she can get the bucket herself!"
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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Back off, Christmas.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love Christmas. I love it, love it, LOVE IT! I have been known to play Christmas music in July. (love it)

However, we have a rule in our house. It's one that I used to get frustrated with, but am now thankful for. Nothing Christmas-y is allowed to take root until December 1st. Nothing. You know what? It gives us a break. After Thanksgiving we can just relax for a week or so before we need to deck the halls and trim the shrubbery. *sigh* Just sit back. No pressure.

Given, we did download Relient K's new Christmas album Let It Snow Baby, Let It Reindeer" and have been laughing to the point of tears listening to "Good King Wenceslas." But, other than that, nothing.

Come this Saturday, though? Oh, boy. Get ready. It will be ON!
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Monday, November 26, 2007

The Truth Comes Out

Dad stayed home with the boys tonight while Mom and I took Brit to gymnastics on base (they fly out tomorrow). Since it's a bit of a drive and gym is three hours long, Mom and I made a trip to the Commissary (base grocery store).

I'm sorting coupons and comparing the cost-per-ounce of over-priced different sized boxes of Life when Mom says, "You guys used to hate me buying the generic stuff."

"What?" I look down the aisle to see Mom standing in front of the large bags of cereal.

"You used to hate it when I bought the fake stuff. You didn't like eating it, that's why I'd save the boxes of real cereal and then pour the generic cereal into them."

"You did WHAT?"

"Oh, you knew that. I'd pour the fake stuff into the boxes so you'd eat it. I always held my breath knowing you had probably figured it out but waiting to see if you'd eat it anyway."

"MOM! I never knew you did that! You always did that? Mother!"

A lady further down the aisle looks at Mom, looks at me, looks back at Mom and starts laughing. I'm still recovering from my shock. I knew that she bought the generic stuff, and I ate it when there was nothing else. But when there was the bag of fake sitting next to the box of real I always ate the "real" and figured the fake was disappearing because DAD was eating it.

Now, a few hours later... after I've recovered from the shock of my Mother's deception... I realize what a brilliant concept this truly is.

(Did I SERiously never figure this OUT? Seriously?)
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Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'm not the only one

Ha. Evidence that there are those in this universe who share my obsession. It's not that I covet other people's shoes. Well, not usually. I just like to look. Restaurants. Malls. At the bank. In a parking lot. Nate commonly has to put up with, "Honey! Look! Look at her shoes." And I'll nudge his arm incessantly until he turns his head in the direction I'm trying to discreetly point.

Maybe I should be called a shoe voyeur. And, evidently, I'm not alone.

(I think I posted on this last year. Susie, didn't you, too?)
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Friday, November 23, 2007

Falling Off the Wagon

Yes, I know. And thank you to all who have pointed it out to me. I have fallen off the NaBloPoMo wagon. Please know this was NOT by choice, but rather necessity. Last weekend was Brit's State Gymnastics Meet in San Diego. We left Friday, and I woke up around 4:30am Saturday morning in the hotel room with the thought blaring through my brain, "Oh, my gosh! I didn't blog yesterday!"

This is the part where an anonymous benefactor feels sorry for me buys me a laptop for Christmas. (Mac, please.) =^) With no laptop and no computer access, keeping up was just a tad impossible. I COULD have back posted, but I take NaBloPoMo very seriously and that would compromise my blogging integrity. (Because the Google ads in my sidebar haven't yet.)

We had a great time on our little trip. The train was definitely a new and fun experience. What a slick way to travel!

Friday night was dinner with amazing friends.

Saturday we descended on Sea World. Right off the kids got to handle some really cool animals.

We went to the dolphin show first off, where the kids all insisted on sitting right up front. "Okay," Nate said, "but this is the Soak Zone. Don't say we didn't warn you!" When Ian heard he would get wet he promptly rose another ten rows in the stadium to sit with the wise adults. Taylor, Jordan, and Brit got absolutely drenched... and loved it. However, Jordan decided to not sit up front later on at Shamu Stadium.

It was such fun to watch the kids' expressions as they touched the different animals throughout the day. Feeding the dolphins was a favorite, and we discovered Bat Rays are slimy.

Sunday we got around to doing what we actually came to San Diego to do! Brittney's State Meet was a pretty big deal. She did a great job just as she has all season, and we're proud to say that our little gymnast is ranked #22 out of Level 4 girls her age in Southern California. It was a lot of pressure, and she just went out there and had fun. (Thanks, Coach Ally!)

Monday we were back on the train home. My parents flew in for Thanksgiving and picked us up at the station when we got in that night. Taylor's iPod was well used, and a some sleep was caught up on. That was another good thing about the train: Nate didn't have to drive.

So, although I'm officially off the wagon, I'll still be here. You can still keep that bookmark on this page. I'm not going anywhere. And I guess if my family comes before blogging then my priorities are indeed in order.
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Thursday, November 22, 2007


...there is food to be eaten today.

...there is family to love right now.

...there are friends who will check in tonight.

...there is a faith in which hope does not waver.

I am so thankful.
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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Birthday Month Comes to a Close

Sassy Shoe Thursday is postponed until next week due to BRITTNEY'S 7TH BIRTHDAY!!!

Nate and I both looked at each other this morning and couldn't believe our only daughter is this old. She's turning into a lady right before our eyes. She keeps up with the boys in her bruise count, but loves pink dresses and frilly hair bows like nothing else.

And, yes, we did the Chuck E. Cheese thing. At least we managed to only hit it once during Birthday Month, thank goodness.

Happy Birthday, my Princess.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mental Aerobics

Mom sent me this. I stewed over it for a little bit before giving up and Googling the answer key. Hee, hee.

Can you find thirty (30) books of the Bible in this paragraph? Actually, there are 31 if you can find the variant of one Old Testament prophet's name.

There are 30 books of the Bible in this paragraph. Can you find them? This is a most remarkable puzzle. It was found by a gentleman in an airplane seat pocket, on a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu, keeping him occupied for hours. He enjoyed it so much, he passed it on to some friends. One friend from Illinois worked on this while fishing from his john boat. Another friend studied it while playing his banjo. Elaine Taylor, a columnist friend, was so intrigued by it she mentioned it in her weekly newspaper column. Another friend judges the job of solving this puzzle so involving, she brews a cup of tea to help her nerves. There will be some names that are really easy to spot. That's a fact. Some people, however, will soon find themselves in a jam, especially since the book names are not necessarily capitalized. Truthfully, from answers we get, we are forced to admit it usually takes a minister or a scholar to see some of them at the worst. Research has shown that something in our genes is responsible for the difficulty we have in seeing the books in this paragraph. During a recent fund raising event, which featured this puzzle, the Alpha Delta Phi lemonade booth set a new record. The local paper, The Chronicle, surveyed over 200 patrons who reported that this puzzle was one of the most difficult they had ever seen. As Daniel Humana humbly puts it, "The books are all right here in plain view hidden from sight." Those able to find all of them will hear great lamentations from those who have to be shown. One revelation that may help is that books like Timothy and Samuel may occur without their numbers. Also, keep in mind, that punctuation and spaces in the middle are normal. A chipper attitude will help you compete really well against those who claim to know the answers. Remember, there is no need for a mad exodus; there really are 30 books of the Bible lurking somewhere in this paragraph waiting to be found. God Bless.

Did you try? No. At least TRY. C'mon. I tried, too.

Okay, fine. You'll find the answers here.
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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

When did this happen?

So, I got home from Brit's gymnastics tonight to discover that Taylor had worked out, showered, done all his homework, made and fed himself dinner, emptied the trash, cleaned up the spilled Powerade, emptied and filled the dishwasher, cleaned and organized his closet, and gotten ready for bed. I was blown away. When did my oldest son disappear and this responsible man move into our house?

The kids went upstairs to get ready for bed. I followed a couple minutes later, only to find Taylor folding laundry.

"Taylor, you're folding laundry." I'm the master of the obvious. "Buddy, you don't have to do that."

"I know."

I walk into the laundry room to switch the load from the washer into the dryer... but it's already been done... and dried... and the light load that was waiting to go in the washer has already been put in... and washed.

"Taylor, did you do this? Did you transfer the stuff into the dryer and start it?"


"Did you put the light load in the washer and start that, too?"

"Ummm... yeah. I guess I did." His lips turned into a shy little half smile. I had a hard time letting him go from my tight hug so he could actually get in bed and go to sleep.

Seriously. When did this happen?

I mean, seriously. When did this happen?
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Monday, November 12, 2007


My Grandfathers. My Father. My Husband. My Brother-in-law. My Friends.

Your Grandfathers. Your Fathers. Your Husbands. Your Sons. Your Uncles. Your Cousins. Your Brothers-in-law. Your Friends.

Thank you.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Valley Champions

Last Thursday Taylor's football team won the Santa Maria Super Bowl, and that put them in the Valley Championship game where they faced the Orcutt school champions (the town just south of us). What made this extra-super-duper cool was they got to play under the lights at a local high school on a Friday night! This was such a huge deal for these kids. Lots of nerves, excitement, tension...

We scored on the first play of the game, but missed the conversion. They scored as soon as they got the ball, and made the conversion. 6 to 8. We were down the entire game. It's easy to look at other parents going crazy at their kids' sporting events and smirk. "How silly. It's just a game. An elementary school game at that." But when it's your own kid... man.

You can imagine how nuts our stands went when Taylor's team (he plays center) miraculously pulled out of 4th and twelve, only to score the winning touchdown on the next play with 30 seconds to go.

Valley Champions. It feels good. Especially since the same two teams met last year and we lost. I can hear Queen singing right now...

(My kids are cute.)
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Saturday, November 10, 2007

"No, really. It's the latest fashion statement."

Today was the kids' end of season soccer tournament. Taylor, Jordan, and Brittney's, to be specific. (We never quite told Ian he was eligible to play yet, thus giving us one more year without all FOUR of them in together. I know. Bad parents. BAD parents.) It's been foggy and colder here lately, and being the wonderfully prepared mom that I am, I thought today may be the same. This morning as we raced out the door I realized it wasn't. It was sunny. Breezy with a slight chill, but sunny. Now, it's not like the sun is intense here, so it's not normally cause for great concern. But when your first game is at 8am, your last game is at 3:30pm, and you have eight other consecutive games amidst those two...

Let's just say that for some reason all the kids are completely fine (oh, the irony), but I'm the one with huge raccoon eyes and a slash of white on either temple. Yes. I was wearing my sunglasses all day. And evidently the SPF 15 in my MAC foundation doesn't hold up during soccer games.

And the fact that I have a cold and have spent today wiping my snotty nose with cheap toilet paper obtained from the porta-poties means that it's EXTRA bright red, further accentuating the whiteness of my greater eye socket area.

"Gee, looks like you got a little sun."

"Yes, do you like it? It took me a while to get the exposure right, but I think I've finally nailed it. No, really. It's the latest fashion statement."

Maybe tomorrow (yes, more games tomorrow) I'll take the sunglasses off so I can burn my enTIRE face in a uniform manner...

or wear sunscreen.

(I'm not EVEN taking a picture of this, so don't ask.)
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Friday, November 9, 2007


It was one of those moments. THOSE moments. Ian had slept in a bit. I was checking email. I heard his soft, morning voice from the stairs. "Mommy?" We sat. We just sat on the stairs. He leaned against me. I kissed his hair. We talked about dreams, bubblegum mouthwash, breakfast. I wanted to stay there forever. Just stay. Forever. It was a moment.

But then I realized, if we just stayed there... if we lingered forever in the lovely... if we never moved on to the rest of the day, the rest of life...

My sweet Ian would never have a chance to grow. If we stayed he would never have overwhelming joys, never face gut wrenching sadness, never go through any trials. He would never move past where we were right there, sitting on the stairs. He would never be given the chance to grow. Never.

How often have I begged God, PLEADed with Him, to let me linger in the safety and security of a pleasant time? How often have I stood, bewildered, suddenly finding myself in something I didn't understand, didn't want, felt unprepared for? All I wanted was to stay in this secure, perfect moment. But if I did... if I stayed... I'd never have the chance grow. I'd never experience...

I want my children to have the chance. Sitting on the stairs this morning with my sweet Ian I realized he NEEDS to grow. If I keep Him here by my side He never will. So, we don't stay in the sweet... we move forward. And the movement itself becomes sweet.

What a picture of the love my Father has for me. He loves the tender, perfect moments where I'm happy, quiet, still, and just leaning into Him. But He also loves me so much that He gets up and moves me forward.

I could choose to try and stay in that comfortable place. I could try to NOT move forward. I could do everything in my power to stay on the stairs, happy and content, unaware of the world outside my door, unaware of what awaits me. I could keep my children close, shelter them from everything, protect their every step...

But what would we miss? What great things are out there that we'd never experience, never discover?

I choose growth. For me AND my family.

(Now, if you have a moment, go here. Listen and just be still for a minute. Then move forward.)
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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sassy Shoe Thursday: Patent Red Perfection

Now, when I say "patent red perfection" you have to know that I am not in any way lessening the perfection of other red patent shoes I own. I've been searching for a shoe like this since last winter, so maybe I should have titled it "Patent Red Perfection (in flats)," but that's just a lot of syllables for brains to form, lessening somewhat the impact of the statement... much as I'm doing now explaining things. (When have I ever been concerned about how many syllables your brain forms? Isn't it "the more the merrier?" Wait. That's at Christmas parties. And do brains even FORM syllables? That's a fun word. Syllables. SylLABles. That last sentence before these parentheses was quite a beauty of a run on. I do have a knack for them, after all. Stay on target... stay on target...)

I hunted. For some reason Target never has MY size when I'm ready to purchase a pair of well-thought-over shoes. I hunted here. I hunted there. I hunted while at a conference in Vacaville. I even hunted while in Denver. And, right before heading up to Breckenridge for the women's retreat... I found them! 7 1/2. One tiny flaw, but that can be overlooked.

I cannot even tell you the sheer hours of wear these things have had since coming to live in my closet. They're fantastic for snazzing up nearly any outfit. They take the boring mom-who-doesn't-want-to-bother-today look easily into the realm of "I'm cute and saucy." Any shoe with that kind of star quality is a needle in a haystack. And for $14.99? You just can't. stinkin'. go. wrong.

I do believe someone else found the good fortune before I, though. And it was her cohort that turned me on to them in the first place. Give credit where credit is due, y'all! (Did I sound like Britney Spears? Just for a split second?)
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Aqua Dots Recalled

This is scary. The toy my son as been begging for over the past few months has just sent multiple children into comas! Aqua Dots was recently found to contain a chemical that, when ingested, converts into the date rape drug gamma hydroxy butyrate. Crazy. Every time we go to Target Ian wants to walk down the toy aisle and point out how much he NEEDS Aqua Dots. "But, MOM! They're so cool!"

The toy, made at a factory in Southern China, has been distributed to at least 40 countries. The manufacturer has issued a warning and will let each country decide whether to pull the tainted product or not. And what a crazy thing right before the Christmas shopping season!

But, doesn't this fall just a tad into the giving-bad-people-bad-ideas category? A widely available product that can be used as a date rape drug. Given, you've got to report it, but how many creepy men are going to be trawling bars with Aqua Dots in their pockets now?
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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Got a few extra million dollars to spare?

Oh, baby. I have SO got our next home-sweet-home picked out. Right around the corner. Nate could still keep his job, even!
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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

And you thought you were being healthy

Are they SERIOUS? Are they really, truly serious about this? In our additive addicted society we beef up everything in an attempt to be healthy, from calcium in our chocolate to extra vitamins in our water. But this? Seriously. How much of a self-loathing concept do you want us to develop?

“Well, we thought you were putting on a few too many extra pounds drinking that plain water, so we developed this here diet water.”

They’ve gone too far. Too, too far.

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