Thursday, May 29, 2008

Taking our zoo to the Zoo!


Yesterday daddy had a day off. Between baseball, yard work, and helping out his brothers, dh has very few days with just us. So #1 took advantage of it and begged daddy to take us to the zoo. She had a coupon from school that expired this weekend. #2 had a pizza certificate to use from Book it for Beginners. So after the rooms were picked up and the dishes done we packed up the van for a field trip.

Pizza Hut was our first stop where #2 got his personal pan cheese pizza and the rest of us had the buffet. #1 had chocolate pudding, shredded cheese, pickles and one slice of pizza. She smelled like dill the rest of the day.

Next stop, the ZOO! We decided to change #3 when we arrived. It was too late. The adorable, too tight, 12 month Osh Kosh's showed signs of leakage. I searched and searched for her extra outfit (which I found later neatly folded on the kitchen table). We finally used our water bottles to rinse the jeans and wiped her bottom with a dozen wipes and wrapped her in a blankie in the stroller. I had 3 blankets along for her, no extra bottoms but 3 !@#$ blankets. Grrrr!

It turned out to be a very pleasant day. I skipped the primate enclosure because my sense of smell and my weak stomach just couldn't hack it. We saw most everything except elephants which #1 had her heart set on. #2 had the most fun on the carousel and #3 was happy just watching everything. It wasn't too crowded and we spent the better of two hours running off lunch.

Monday, May 26, 2008

remembering...


Memorial Day always makes me think of my father. He was a Veitnam vet who died when I was finishing up my freshman year in college. We usually attend the service at the school where they read his name along with other veterans in our community who have died.

It was cold this morning, a stark difference from the beautiful summer day we had yesterday. I dressed the kids in long sleeves for the program. I tried to explain to my kids that my dad, their grandfather, was a soldier who fought for our country.

I think about all the things my dad has missed since he died. My wedding, the 11 (going on 12) grandkids he didn't even get to see come into this world, working on projects with my husband and my brothers; my dad was an amazing woodworker. He could build anything. His math skills were astonishing. I wish he could be here to help my kids learn fractions, and the things that man could build with legos, WOW.

Mostly, I wonder if he is in heaven. He had his moments in his illness. After treatment he would always be wholeheartedly praying and reading the Bible. Then slowly, the demons of alcohol would, once again, help him forget completely about God and his family on earth. I once asked one of my youth pastors what he thought. He told me to pray about it, so I have been ever since.

I hope that you know how much Jesus loves you daddy. I hope that you believe in Him and his sacrifice for us. I hope that you asked for forgiveness and knew that God would grant it to you, even on your death bed.

Thanks for all you did for my country when you were a soldier.
Thanks for all you did for me when you were a daddy.

I miss you.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

6 year old wisdom

We have a half wall (pony?) between the kitchen and living area.

Today (yet again) my son was hanging from it with his upper half as he was shaking a VBS made rain stick at the baby while I was trying to coax her into drinking (from her big cup) the last of her juice.

You know what happens next. The boy loses his grip and CRASH, BANG, BOOM! He, along with most everything else on the narrow shelf, goes flying to the ground.

I look over to my 6 year old daughter who continues eating her lunch. She rolls her eyes and says, (matter of factly-with a mouthful of food) "That's why I am not having kids."

I almost peed my pants.

A few milliseconds later we heard a muffled groan from the other side of the wall, "I'm okay."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

prayer request

My thoughts and prayers are with the Steven Curtis Chapman Family today as they are mourning the loss of their 5 year old daughter.

I can't say it better than a friend did a couple of years ago when our community lost a child, so I will borrow her words...

To all of you who have children, hug them tight, right now. There is no reason to wait, ever.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I am who I am

I know what I want to be. I wish I was who I want to be. But, I am not. I am me. This is me. Imperfect, sinful, crazy, me. Thank you Lord for your forgiveness and your love.

Just visited with an old friend of my fathers. It was an amazing visit. They brought gifts of old memories and strong faith. We talked about God and his unknown plan for all of us. Thank you Lord for friends old and new.

LOVE this song by Superchick...

Some people bring you gifts
Some bring you bricks to weigh you down
So they can swim a little higher while you drown
Some people mean so well
Their way was the best way that they found
But any other way you choose is a brick that weighs you down

So tell me what do I do with this backpack full of bricks
Of sticks and stones and words that stuck to me like ticks

Let it go, let it be, brick by brick we can be free
Of all the words we saved till we were our own enemies
Let it go, let it be, brick by brick we can believe
In the person God intended us to be
Let it be

Some people give themselves a brick
I know most people do
When we compare we fall short somewhere
It's always true
If all we see is where we fall we've bricked a prison wall
Instead of trying to learn to fly we've taught ourselves to Crawl

We could believe in ourselves more
we could try for unique Instead of trying to conform
We could defy what they tell us don't buy the lies they sell us
If we're brave we can believe in what we are

Lyrics provided by:
Christian Music

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A little rusty?

I like to think I am an educated woman. I have a diploma collecting dust somewhere. I try to keep my brain in gear by picking up a substitute job here and there. I should be able to handle 5 nights of four, five, six and seven year olds, right?

SQUEAK!

That’s the wheel in my brain trying to get a moving. The first night went off beautifully without a hitch. Everything was smooth and practically effortless. The biggest problem we had was that the markers were mostly on us and not the mural we were coloring. I spent almost 15 minutes talking about Ruth and Boaz and paraphrasing the story out of the Bible. I was almost done when an adorable little boy asked, “What is wheat?” which led to a discussion about growing and farming and that night I just happened to have a farmers wife as my helper. It was magical.

Then came night number two. I didn’t get supper on the table until 5:30 and I still had to shower. I spent all day preparing memory coloring books to give to each child. I felt prepared but when I got there kids were looking for me because our assigned spot had changed and there was mass confusion. At the start of the evening I was holding one nametag so I wandered over to her mother and said, “Is she here tonight?” To which she promptly pointed to her child sitting in the front row plain as day. “Oops”, I swallowed hard. It was going to be a long night.

SQUEAKY SQUEAKITY SQUEAK!

During music we learned another new song and the boys wouldn’t do the actions. In games one little girl had to potty, “RIGHT NOW”, and the outside door was locked. Coming in from games one of the kids knocked over the rainforest trees in the hallway. We had only five minutes to eat snack and use the restroom. The Bible lesson was not successful. There were no listening ears in the room. We passed out the coloring books only to have most of the kids color every page instead of the ones that corresponded to the night’s lesson, (note to self – do not hand out five nights of lessons unless you want all of them colored). The craft was a one on one activity with lots of glue. Then at the last 20 minutes of class time I had a child ask me, “is it time to go home, yet?” A sure sign that he was thoroughly enjoying my teaching presence. For the last activity we pinned the beak on Bill the toucan and I put the picture of the toucan so high I had to lift half of the students up to have half a chance of getting close. (Note to self- measure all students to come up with an average height for paper before playing game, round down.) Then, after the evening had come to a close a mother came to me and asked where her child’s clothes were. I was clueless. As far as I knew that child was wearing those clothes all night. I searched high and low for my helper who was nowhere to be found. I finally discovered the soiled clothing in the bathroom. The mother, I am sure, was not impressed with my resourcefulness.

Needless to say I was exhausted last night when my son showed me his coloring sheets from his class, which is another section of the same age students I have. He had two neat little art sheets to show me that his obviously much well-oiled teacher had planned and successfully executed.

Sigh.

Wish me luck tonight and a quick prayer for strength and a little oil for those squeaky wheels wouldn’t hurt either.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My favoritist time of the year

What do you get when you take almost 100 kids and over 50 volunteers and put them together for 5 nights in a row? FUN!

We start our community (almost county-wide) vacation Bible school this week.

Call me crazy but this is the MOST fun I have all year. When my church hosted VBS alone we would sometimes get as many as 75 children signed up. I would be in charge of music and we would be rocking and a rolling to the theme song every night. For the past several years the three town churches have pulled together resources to put on an outrageously fun, Jesus-loving, song-singing, game playing, snack eating PARTY! This year proves to be more fun with an amazing number of kids and half as many high school and adult volunteers to join in the excitement.

The Bible lessons are challenging this year, especially since we teach mixed age groups, but I am ready for it. Our theme concentrates on taking care of God's beautiful creation through sharing, giving, growing, loving and praising! We use critters from the rain forest to illustrate our responsibilities.

I...Just...Can't...Wait!

Here is an overview if you want to follow along with us!
We would appreciate your prayers as well!

Day 1 - We Share

Bible Story - Boaz shares with Ruth (Ruth 2:1-17)

Bible Memory Verse - Share every good thing you have. (Galatians 6:6)

Shari the Butterfly - this butterfly is very plain underneath, but shares the beautiful blue color on the tops of her wings with all the world!

Day 2 - We Give

Bible Story - Elisha gives food to 100 people (2 Kings 4:42-44)

Bible Memory Verse - If we can give, we should be generous. (Romans 12:8)

Bill the Toucan - Toucans give music to the rain forest with their loud, distinct cry. Toucans are known in many areas of the rain forest as “Dios te de” (God gives to you) because their call sounds like this expression.

Day 3 - We Grow

Bible Story - Parable of the mustard seed (Mark 4:30-32)

Bible Memory Verse - Grow and be happy in your faith. (Philippians 1:24)

Tad the Frog - Frogs grow and change from a tiny egg, to a wriggling tadpole, to a hopping frog! We all change and grow in our lives, too!

Day 4 - We Love

Bible Story - Jesus the vine (John 15:1-5, 7-17)

Bible Memory Verse - We love because God first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

Esme the Macaw - Young macaws stay with their parents in the same nest for as long as two years! The parents love their babies and care for them in the ways they learned from their own parents.

Day 5 - We Praise

Bible Story - Jesus enters Jerusalem (Mark 11:1-10)

Bible Memory Verse - We will praise you and thank you, Lord. (Psalm 35:18)

Cleo the Monkey - The howler monkey is the loudest animal on earth- their call can be heard for up to three miles! They praise God loudly and proudly!

Friday, May 16, 2008

it's official




Yesterday, being the last day of school, made today the official start of summer break.

We have been waiting for this day with much anticipation. Our whole family spent yesterday helping to spruce up the yard and put new sand in the sandbox. Even the baby got in on the fun. We put up the toddler swing and she swung herself to sleep. I wish I would have snapped a photo.

This morning #3 was up with a tummy ache at 6 am and by 7 both kids were chomping at the bit. Somehow the subject of the pool came up and I spent the rest of the morning juggling baby and air compressor. It's done. The pool is up, the freezing water is in it, the floats are inflated and the suits are wet. We've spent the bulk of the day outdoors and everyone is beat. The big kids are playing in the shade and the baby has crashed, again, this time in her crib.

We had our lunch outside and just finished a snack of fresh strawberries. It's barely the middle of May but summer has stuck its head out of the sky for today at least...

Sunshine is a glorious gift, isn't it?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Kindness is beautiful...

I found this link today. Wouldn't the world be a wonderful place if we all were a little bit kinder? I know I could use a reminder. Maybe these cards or a poster will help me out a bit.

http://www.giftofkindness.com/cardsposter.htm#card

Monday, May 12, 2008

We celebrated 10 years of married life in Hawaii.













I love this man.

ohana


This is my brother Lucas. He lives on Kauai. He moved there almost 6 years ago. I don't think he will ever leave. If I had lemon and lime trees growing in my backyard along with 'sleeping giant' I would probably stay, too.

This is his friends little mini cooper. Had to take that baby for a spin. WOW!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Daddy does snorkeling



We drove around forever trying to find the perfect spot to snorkel. We had the underwater camera thanks to Walmart, Hawaii. It was a beautiful beach and the sea life was pretty amazing.In the first 10 minutes we were there a monk seal and a sea turtle both beached themselves to sun. As soon as they came out of the water people swarmed around them and the life guards started barking on the megaphones, "Keep away from the seal/turtle!" There is actually a law that you have to remain 50 feet from the animals so they rope off an area so the animal can sunbathe in peace. The seal was a female and she had a huge lure stuck in her back but the volunteer who was watching her assured the crowd that she was okay and she was pregnant:) It was like sea world in the Pacific Ocean. I was so amazed I could have sat on that beach for days. DH went out snorkeling for awhile and in all the excitement I thought I would give it a try, too. Until he came back to shore and I noticed his knees were bleeding. The current was strong enough to push him in to the reef and I thought, nope, I'm happy watching. Some turtles came so close to shore the kids who were swimming actually rode them. In the midst of all this animal excitement a local started fishing. FISHING! At a public beach with a full crowd. My husband asked him what he was catching and he quickly snorted,"tourists". We left him alone after that. But I did see him pull half a dozen silvery fish out of the water and bury them in the sand for later.
video video

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Kindergarten = the dating game?

Gotta take a break from the vacation to get back to blog therapy.

This morning as I bent down to kiss #1 goodbye she purposely moved her face so I couldn't reach her nose and lips.It kind of shocked me. I watched her walk down the street and imagined her leaving for college and not kindergarten. I hope it's the coffee breath she is avoiding and not mommy kisses. They grow up way too fast.

At the breakfast table as I was wrestling #3's mouth open for rice cereal the older ones were fighting because #2 said he wanted to marry mommy and not a girlfriend. #1 insisted that 'it is against the law to marry family' and that #2 would have to find a girl outside the family. This, of course, brought #2 to tears and he said wanted to be just like daddy and marry mommy. I tried to explain to #3 that it's okay for #2 to think that right now, it is hard for him to think about growing up. She insisted that he start looking right now for a girlfriend to marry. I asked her what the hurry was and she said, "My teacher said you and daddy fell in love in kindergarten."

I believe it was Junior High but really what's the difference?

Please stop growing up so fast, I am missing you already...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Sure seemed like what paradise would be like

The Tropical Paradise of Kauai, Hawaii basks amidst the sparkling blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, Rainbow Catamaran on Kalapaki Beach, Kauai, Hawaii about 20 minutes by air from Honolulu. Formed some six million years ago, the island encompasses roughly 550 square miles and is the oldest and Surfer Going In at Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii northernmost of the main Hawaiian Islands.
To visit Kauai is to quickly lose yourself in the quiet majesty of the island's lush tropical setting and extraordinary natural heritage. Come, discover the legendary aloha spirit that abounds in this friendly garden island paradise.(from the official tourism site)
I agree with everything except the 6 million years ago part:) HE does amazing work, doesn't he? We rented a car to drive the 100 miles from coast to coastand took a helicopter tour of the island where there are no roads.These are the Wailua falls,80-foot waterfalls that were used in the opening of the television series Fantasy Island. Below is the Na Pali Coast accessible only by helicopter, hiking, or raft. This is where we came home to every night and took time to check on the kids
we haven't gotten the cell bill yet...

Pearl Harbor


USS Arizona Memorial. The day we visited there were two of the 50 still living survivors in the center answering questions. It was a sight to see those men. We watched a short video of the events that happened on Dec. 7, 1941, many of us in the tour group were overcome with emotion.

You can still see some of the USS Arizona sticking out of the bay. 1177 men died on that ship and nine hundred were never found. Oil still leaks from some parts of the ship into the water above.

Here we are aboard the USS Missouri. She was the battleship where the cease fire was signed with Japan. The deck is made of teak wood for better traction and in case a barrel of gunpowder was dropped there was less chance of an explosion.

Honolulu as seen from Punch Bowl, a cemetery for the men who died at Pearl Harbor and other veterans. Read more about Pearl Harbor here.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Honolulu and Waikiki Beach

daytime view from the plane

early evening shot from our hotel balcony we shared with seagulls
and again at sunset...
They say that Honolulu is the Chicago of the Pacific. With its crowded narrow streets we couldn't argue that. The tour buses sometimes have an upper deck and the endless shops provide a shopping haven. We, unfortunately, saw a host of homeless living under palm trees in the park on the drive from the airport. Paradise has its downsides; the cost of living is outrageous and I think some 'cousins' who used their last paycheck to fly from the mainland weren't prepared for the increase and couldn't support themselves. There was a man we overheard complaining he couldn't find a job that required his expertise in computers so he was living on the beach. With a low of 70 something and a high of 80 something practically year long if you have to be homeless this is the place, I guess.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

GO Twins!


Keeping warm at the Twins game in Oakland, CA.

What happens when dh gets ahold of the camera...

This is in Oakland, CA. It is 30 some degrees out and about to rain. We are headed to the game when my dh decides to snap this photo. Very funny...not.

my 'kamali`i'