Friday, April 30, 2010

Road Trip

I approached the counter of the car rental office and asked for my rented minivan. As the car rental guy looked up my reservation, I reflected on the road trip we were about to take. The children and I had the opportunity to go to our beloved Sarah's "pinning" and convocation from the nursing school of her university. Doing so however, would mean a drive of several hours each way. Though it would be a very short trip, there and back in one day, I felt nervous about taking our ragged running minivan that far by myself. So we decided to rent a minivan for the day. My reverie was interrupted by the car rental guy, who was smiling broadly.

"I have a sweet deal for you today. We've had an unusually high number of requests for minivans, so how about a free upgrade? A nicer vehicle for the same price as the minivan?"

I did a quick mental inventory of makes and models. What other vehicle could comfortably seat 5 children and all their road trip gear?

"Uh, what type of vehicle would it be?"

The car rental guy's face was literally beaming.

"A brand new, 2010 Cadillac Escalade!"

I live so far outside the world of Cadillacs that I was not as impressed as the car rental guy clearly thought I should be.

"Well, does it have cruise control?"

He barely suppressed his laughter.

"Oh yes ma'am. It's fully loaded. It definitely has cruise control."

We went outside to see the Escalade, and then I realized how much of an upgrade we were getting. It was tall. It was big. It had bling. It was dripping, no oozing luxury from every pore of its shiny black and silver exterior.

The children were ecstatic! We loaded 2 carseats, 5 children, pillows and pajamas for the drive home, a cooler, and our road trip activity bag into the vehicle and off we went.

Good-bye old minivan!

Hello Cadillac Escalade!

I told the children it was a special love pat from the Lord, totally unexpected and unnecessary. Pure love.

We had a delightful road trip to Sarah and Hailey's college, and an even more delightful time being with them!

(Pics of Sarah's convocation coming next!)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What I've learned so far.....

about being the parent of preteens/teenagers:

1. They need lots of time in the bathroom.

2. They need lots of time to get ready to go somewhere.

3. They need lots of time to get ready for bed.

4. They need lots of sleep.

5. They need lots of food.

6. They like to have intense conversations at bedtime.

7. They needs lots and lots and lots of positive affirmation.

8. Sometimes you just have to let them cry.

9. And when doing #8, you just need to be there and not say anything.

10. And when #8 and #9 are all over, they will hug you and say they are all better.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Today has been TORTUREOUS in math.


That's all I'm going to say.

The Piercing of the Ears




Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Happy 92nd Birthday!

Yes, my father in law is 92. Unbelievable to me too. He is really quite an amazing man, having lived through the Great Depression as an adult, being a World War II veteran, and witnessing first hand so many changes in the last century. Not to mention the fact that he raised my husband! I think birthdays of older people are so important to celebrate, partly to celebrate that they're still here (I honestly don't know many 92 year olds) and partly to honor them just because God made them and they are a person of value!

My father in law is very easy going and accommodating. When I asked what he wanted to eat for his birthday dinner, he said "oh, anything." But when I pressed him, he said "ribs". So, ribs it was.

I tried to get creative with his cake, thinking I'd make a picture of him with a birthday crown. But it turned out a little too "creative", looking more like a woman than a man (I ran out of white frosting to make his beard!). Oh well! It still tasted good!

Here he is with 5 of his 10 grandchildren, and his one great granddaughter (the girl in purple on his lap).

Married 54 years and still going strong!

The two birthday people. Daughter G was born the day after he turned 79. They have been privileged to share many birthday parties over the years!

I love you Dad! Happy, happy birthday!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Birthday, Birthday, and More Birthday!

This past weekend was the official kick off of birthday month at our house. Our daughter had her 13th birthday party sleepover, we had a party for my father in law who turned 92, and we had a special tea party for our daughter with older women passing along words of wisdom to her. Today is her actual birthday and she is getting her ears pierced! Next week is son G's 11th birthday and two weeks after that is son L's 10th birthday. Whew! Busy times, but so, so special.

This was daughter G's year for a "friend" party, and she chose to go bowling and have a sleepover. It was the first time our boys had been bowling and was very, very fun!

These girls are all from our daughter's small group Bible Study and are very sweet girls.

Looking cool at the bowling alley!

We came home and had cake and ice cream.

I gave the girls a 1:00 A.M. curfew, but they stayed up talking in the dark after that. This is what I found at 9:15 the next morning.

We had pancakes with different toppings for breakfast. Here is Little Man with all 3 toppings!

It was so fun, and it made us happy to see our daughter, her friends, and our boys all having a good time. Happy Birthday G!

Friday, April 23, 2010

V is for VeggieTales, and Vegetables!

For the letter "V", the young fives got to read veggie tale stories,

work on their "V" pages (isn't it cute how he has a crayon in each hand?!),

eat vegetables for snack,

and play veggietale bingo. I loved how son C was helping Little Man with this game. It blessed my heart.

Another fun day at co-op!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Little Man, as we were driving in the van: "That cloud startled me!"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Lord's Mercies Are New Every Morning...Great is His Faithfulness!

Years ago, when I did substitute teaching for two years as my main source of income, I used to be so thankful that God created night. Night meant an end to the day. Can you imagine a bad day going on and on and on and on???? On the really bad days, when the teacher hadn't left good plans, or there was a field trip scheduled (okay, really, who lets their sub take the class on a FIELD TRIP??!! But I digress.....) or the kids were just big and mean and disobedient...those were the days I was so thankful for night!

Today was such a day.

But the students were my own.

It began with a conflict between siblings which took about an hour to resolve. Followed almost immediately by another one involving another sibling, which also took time to resolve. Which meant school didn't start until very late, which meant a very short recess and almost no indoor play time, which meant certain children were very frustrated and did not have a good attitude toward their work, which led to more conflict and correction and (hopefully) character development. Then there was soccer practice and the mad dash to church while eating dinner in the van......

And after all that two children still had to finish schoolwork after coming home from church. Which meant that I had to stay "on" for them, when I really desperately felt like going to bed. And I had to have a long talk with another child to restore our relationship and insure that the sun did not go down on our wrath.

I could have ditched the work today. I've done that before. Some times it's just better to hang out together and bond. But this time I sensed that it was best to hold their feet to the fire with their schoolwork, and in the process hopefully help them truly understand what a late start means. Is the little thing they chose to argue over in the morning really worth it taking all day to finish their work?

Now the little darlings are all, blessedly, asleep. As I watch them sleeping, the arguments and frustration of the day melt away. Their cheeks are so soft and they appear so peaceful. The boy I took time to restore with before bed sank into my lap and let me hold him tightly as he poured out his heart. I breathed him in as he sat there, so close to my face, needing security and empathy and a listening ear. Soon he will be a young man and will not want to sit on my lap and let me hold him.

Fatigue....sorrow....frustration....thankfulness. So many emotions in one day.

Now the night has come. This day is over. And the Lord's mercies are new every morning!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tiptoe Through The Tulips

I just have to post these flower pictures because they are so pretty! Seriously, doesn't it bring a smile to your face just to look at them?

The tulip growing capital of the U.S. is a very short distance from my parents' house, and we had the opportunity to drive through the tulip fields and then tour a display garden. How often am I in Washington in April? When the tulips are in bloom? And how often am I by myself? When it's easier to stop somewhere on a whim? Will the planets ever align this way again??! We went for it, and it was both visually beautiful and very fun to spend the afternoon with my parents.

God's creativity is just stunning!

The fields full of tulips stretched almost as far as the eye could see!

And off in the distance (can't see in this pic) were the Canadian Rockies, and the Washington Cascades, both mountain ranges glistened with fresh snow. Beautiful!

Thank you, Lord, for the beautiful creation you have made, and for giving man the task of cultivating and caring for it. Thank you for this beautiful, amazing, and colorful glimpse into Who You Are.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Soccer Season Has Begun!

Today was opening day of our spring soccer season. We froze our little patooties off, sitting through two back to back games today! On Thursday it was 84 degrees here. The children were sweating and begging for ice cream. Today it was 42 degrees with a cold wind blowing. Brrrrr......

Despite the cold, I do love watching soccer, especially when one of our children is playing! Son C is playing for the first time in his young life. He was nervous but did a great job and afterward said it was "very fun". Yay! Sons G and L are playing on the same team again, and they also did a super job today. I love to watch them progressing in their skills and knowledge of the game.

More Highlights from my Trip

My main purpose in going to Washington was of course to attend our sister retreat. But since that was technically just 24 hours, I also had a few days to hang out with my parents, my sister Gayle's family, and on Sunday to attend my old church. I also read an entire book while I was there!

On the way I had a very long layover in the city where my Tapestry of Grace secret sister from two years ago lives, and we finally got to meet face to face! Secret sisters is a ministry of the TOG yahoo group I am a part of, and each Christmas those participating receive the name of another participant to pray for regularly and to send an ornament to. The ornament exchange is a very fun and very blessed ministry, and each year we await with great anticipation the "received" email from our very own secret sister when it is finally revealed who has been praying for her the last two months! Two years ago I was given Teacher/Mom (that's her online name and you may see her comment sometimes on my blog!) to pray for and to send an ornament to. It was a blessing for me to pray for her family, and since then we have become good online friends. It was such a joy to finally meet face to face! She is such a lovely person and the 3 hours just flew by as we talked and shared.

Another highlight was getting to bake cookies with my nephew T. I was missing my own children so much, and kindof missing being in the kitchen too! (weird, I know) So it was really fun that he agreed to let me bake with him. :-) He is my sister Gayle's youngest son.

Getting to spend an entire day with just my parents was also a real highlight! I can't remember the last time that has happened. They are such influential people in my life, and I soaked up every minute being with them. Here we are in a tulip display garden - more on that in another post!

These two dear elderly couples are both very special to me. They have prayed for me for years, and this first couple has literally known me my entire life (he was my first pastor and dedicated me to the Lord as an infant). I won't know until heaven how much of God's working in my life is because of their prayers. How blessed I am to have them in my life, especially since my own grandparents, who prayed faithfully for me every day, have passed away. I look forward to seeing them each time I am home, and always wonder if it is the last time I will see them on this earth, which is another reason that leaving is always hard. I am so thankful for the very real hope of heaven.

Thank you, Lord, for such a soul enriching time!