Today was a stay-at-home day. That means it's Saturday at our house. The kids usually love S-A-H days and the movie night and popcorn that precedes them. Anyway, today I wanted to be doing some deep cleaning, pulling out the winter coats and that kind of thing. Instead, I just hung out with my kids. The boys got haircuts, they all played in the bath and then made a game of getting lotioned up. We did normal life stuff but didn't have a time to do something by. Instead of making lunch, we snacked on gardettos and waited for Ryan to get home from work to eat a real lunch.
After lunch, I kept my word to Bethany and took her shopping. Judah, who prefers his daddy EVERY time, wanted to go with me. The only way I could get Bethany to be okay with Judah breaking in on our mother-daughter date was to tell her she could get a "special" cart. She was sold. They did well in the big W store except that they asked for EVERYTHING. Umm, no. We walked down a couple of toy isles, through the Christmas decor isles and even checked out the patterns in the fabric department before getting the things we actually needed. It was a fun time and considering I'm always on a time frame, and I never once looked at my watch. I just enjoyed my slightly frustrating time with my I-want-that-children. We left and stopped at the golden arches for an apple pie before heading home.
Back at the ranch, I mean acreage, my rockstar husband and his mini-me had purchased a live Christmas tree, had all the decorations out, lights on the tree and were ready to decorate. He's awesome like that. So we decorated the tree, snapped a few pics like the ones below and laughed at how the kids reacted to those poky needles as they tried to hang ornaments. Ryan headed to the vet clinic and his two littles bundled up to go with him while Scott and I had some hang out time together.
Scott asked me to play with him. I don't actually play with him often. We read books, we chat. But I don't do 6 year old play time with him. So, I obliged my son. And I didn't want to just oblige him, I wanted to enjoy it. And enjoyable it was. His request was to play with his Veggie Tales nativity set that just came out of the storage box. Trying to help him set it up, he kept correcting me. It donned on me that he was setting up the story and baby Jesus wasn't there yet. It warmed my heart to hear him explain. So he set up the story line and then began telling it to me and role playing with the Veggie characters. He paused in the story and couldn't tell it with perfection. Now let me say that I don't expect perfection. He's just that good with stories and so I asked if he wanted to read it in the bible. Yes, he answered, but clarified that he wanted to read it in the "Action Bible". So, we paused from the role playing, read a story in the action bible, which got him distracted and he had to share about a naughty girl, and eventually made it back to the role playing with the Veggies. Scott continued with the story line when he got to the last king visiting Jesus, I took over. That particular veggie was vertically challenged and couldn't see over the manger so I made my role fun. Is it okay that I took the short king and totally added some to the story? Here's how it went, something along the lines of : "I can't see the baby..." as the king stands in front of the manger. He moves behind the cow and says "wow, you have a big rear end..." Trying to get a view of the baby, he then jumps on the hay stack and says "oh there He is, the King of the Jews, our Savior, I shall bow down to Him" as he falls on his face and scoots off. Scott thinks it's hilarious and can't wait to role play the way momma just did. The first time he tried to mimic me he couldn't even talk he was laughing so hard. Of course, I thought it was funny that he thought it was so funny and ran over to post it on facebook. As I typed, I could hear him finally spit the words out "you have a big rear end". And later when Ryan got home, it was the first thing he showed my boy with an amazing memory showed his daddy. Oh dear, what have I taught my son?!?!?!
Fortunately before Daddy got home, I left my son to role play and started supper. Bethany's request: Pancakes. While Ryan and I were cooking, the kids were each playing with their themed nativity set. It was fun to hear them in the other room. Scott was, no doubt, the older sibling in charge as we heard him say "Time to play little red school house. 5-4-3-2-1. Judah, you're supposed to zip your lips, lock them and throw your key in the trash... Judah!" There is a reason Judah got the nickname he did. Two "mickey-mouse", one "minnie", and a bunch of normal blueberry pancakes later, we sat down to eat. Mmm, I love bacon! And I love the quietness of the room when everyone has food in their mouths.
Without question, the highlight of my day was Scott mimic'ing me role playing with the king. As I was chatting with my mom on the phone about it, the thought crossed my mind that with his memory, this could go beyond the nativity sets. Look out First Baptist Church. If my son gets a certain role, he just might go hide behind one of the older girls and call out "wow, you have a big rear end". that would certainly be more memorable than him picking his nose or checking out the baby Jesus. Not that he's done both of those or anything.
(side note: The action bible is really cool. It's basically the bible stories in comic book form. It references the actual verses from the bible and has amazing illustration is awesome! Scott will sit and read it for over an hour. If you haven't heard of or seen the Action bible, check it out at the actionbible.com)
I'm embarrassed to say that I hardly know what day it is. That might be caused by the recent travels and then my even more recent three days of being bedridden because of my back. So as I was reading facebook for a few minutes waiting for my pain reliever to kick in, I saw news that rocked my world. It was a post by my friend Amy about celebrating her brother's 32nd birthday.
For those who know me well, know that while in my sophomore year in high school, my dear friend, Scott, was in a woodshop accident. He died leaving behind his parents, his sister, and loads of friends who loved him. Tomorrow is Scott's birthday. He would be 32. He had just turned 16 when the accident occurred. I'll never forget the details surrounding those few weeks. I cried and cried. My heart ached for years. Scott was a huge impact on my life. He was the one who led me to Christ. God used him in the lives of many and people like me and I never even go to say thanks.
Thinking of my friend, Scott, today brings tears to my eyes and at this point I can't even think straight. I wish I could put into words how much my friend Scott means to me.
Since I can't make my brain function, I'll share a quick story. I was recently back in the town I was raised in. When I crossed paths with Scott's parents, they were getting ready to introduce a guest pastor at church. When I walked up to them, Bonnie introduced me to the guest pastor as being "one of Scott's old girlfriends". In all of the last 16 years, I don't think I've ever been introduced that way. Sure enough, once upon a time we were boyfriend and girlfriend. But we were young (and I'm sure his parents wouldn't have approved) and our relationship was just a kid thing. I remember Scott's sister, Amy, taking us to Baskin Robbins. And if we were super secretive, we might have held hands on the 5 mile drive. Regardless of that junior high relationship, I have a mature love for Scott. Not because of the trip to Baskin Robbins, but because he loved me where I was at and shared the Truth of the Gospel with me. And almost 16 years later, his life still impacts mine.
Happy birthday dear friend. I know you're celebrating with the King on your birthday!
For over a year now, I've been talking about going home. The driving factor has always been my grandma's. They're not getting any younger. And should anything happen to them, I'd be on a plane and headed home. So, why not go why they're healthy? It was more than that though. I wanted to catch up with my friends and family. I wanted to share with them about my heart for Ethiopia. So, when I heard my Abuela was in the hospital and a day later saw my other grandma who had aged quite a bit, I knew I needed to get home.
I'm so thankul to my husband, Ryan. He's amazing.
Going home wasn't going to be easy. After all, I was getting ready to travel to Ethiopia. How would we finance both trips? Did I even have that much vacation time? With the support and love of my husband, I purchased a ticket to fly to the home town I was (mostly) raised in. Because of ticket prices being so high, I wasn't able to take any of the kids with me. Which meant that I'd have a weekend to run around like crazy and enjoy some time with my family and friends.
Who knew that Wednesday I'd get the 24-hour stomach bug that had loated around. An early night to bed on Wednesday, with a short work day on Thursday so I could pack, I headed to the airport. My flight was late leaving Cedar Rapids but I made my connection just fine. When I did land in Fresno, I was met by my dear friend, Kristine, her sweet girl and these yellow roses from my husband. He knows these are my favorite:
Friday, I had a fun day with my family. Lunch with Mis and the kids, an afternoon with my dad, sis and niece and nephews. Then an evening with my aunt, uncle and a bunch of cousins. I loved being home and living life with them, if even only for a few hours each. Then Saturday morning I was able to sit in the corner of Starbucks with my friend, Paul, while we chatted and life happend around us. After a quick stop over at the winery, I headed to my nieces birthday party. For the first time in her 8 years of life, I was able to celebrate her birthday with her. Not sure that she cared but I did and it was sweet.
That evening, was the wine social to benefit my volunteer work with FOVC. I will write a more detailed post on my journey4hope blog later. But for now, just to share that this was only possible through the help of my friends, but especially that of Oscar, the winery owner, and those who came. Thank you Oscar and friend for loving, encouraging and supporting me!
And of course, a very important reason for my trip was my Grandma's. I got to see them both. And while we didn't exchange much for words or family history like I'd hoped for, I got to love on them, hold their precious hands and just be there. It was so sweet. Since I didn't get a pic with my nanny, here's one of nanny with one of my besties:
And of course, sitting with my abuela was such a blessing. But it wasn't just my grandma, it was seeing all my family. I consider myself blessed to have seen each of them. It had been a long time. Especially my dad's side. I hadn't seen some of those cousins since my grandpa died in 1997.
This morning, I got to hang out with Seebs, one of my fav high school teachers, lunch with my dad and Nina and then back to Krsitine's. As the time drew to a close today, I packed up my suitcase while still fighting some stomach nastiness. I grabbed my laptop since I'd lost my flight agenda before I even left, and realized that my flight left at 340pm, NOT at 430 pm. Who knew I was dislexic. Nina immediately rushed me to the airport. We were nervous, in need of gas, and hoping to get there on time. No dice. Seriously, even though I was standing there with my luggage at check-in, the not so bend-over-backwards-to-help-me lady informed me that I missed my flight. What? The flight doesn't leave for 30 mins! Well, I learned that in such a huge, I mean, dinky airport like Fresno, they can't manage to get me through check-in, security, and onto the itty-bitty plane in time. Stupid united. Stupid me for not having the time right. Well, $75 later, I'm booked and checked in for the first flight out tomorrow.
And I have to be there at 5am. Good to know.
So, back to Kingsburg I go. Still no desire to eat. But here one more night with my friends. While my husband thinks that I will do anything to extend my vacay, I am so ready to be home. seriously.
Last night was pretty rough when Bethany was curious and stuck her hand under a running, very textured, treadmill. I couldn't get downstairs fast enough when I heard the screaming. Then the sight of her hand literally made me sick to my stomach. We washed, she screamed and daddy got her bandaged up. She continued to scream and wail. I couldn't fix it which make my heart ache and my stomach hurt even more.
Today is a new day.
Before Pastor started the sermon, he informed us that one of our members was prepping for a c-section. No fun. As the sermon was coming to a close, someone announced in church that baby wasn't breathing. Everyone froze and we collectively prayed. With a few minutes the news began to improve a little at a time. Interesting that we'd been talking about how God redeems life. Oh God, please move mountains for this little baby.
No desire to stand around and chat after church today.
We head home. Quietly. Get home to our excited dog running circles around us. While getting out of the van to grab a few things and get back on the road, I heard the dog wailing. In pain. I met him a few yards away and saw that his front arm/shoulder was bit to shreds. Again. Walking around the garage, I see the neighbors dog. Seriously!?!?! Didn't this just occur 3 weeks ago? Harley wouldn't let us near him. So I ran in the house to grab him some food and coax him out from under the porch where he was still wimpering.
Was that a puddle in the floor?
Setting the food on the porch I came back in the house. Yes, water on the floor. I looked up to see water dripping from the ceiling. Really!?!?! Isn't water cascading from upstairs only supposed to occur other places - like hotels? Ryan headed up stairs to see the water in the sink still on. Darn kids. This isn't the first time they've left the water on. But it is the first time we've left with the water left on.
Clean that up quick. Place ice-cream buckets under the dripping spots. Coax Harley out with food. He runs to his kennel favoring his leg. I ask the vet about surgery and jump in the van letting the professional deal with him. I'm thankful Ryan can do the surgery but it isn't free. It does cost money to put the dog under, sew him up, and give him meds. So frustrating.
Heading down the road, I make another courtesy phone call to the neighbors. Not wanting to rock the boat, cause I love our neighbors, I want them to know that I'm frustrated and something's gotta change. Something has to change. The second time. In my yard. Grr.
A year ago, when the time changed, our wood pile caught on fire. At least that didn't happen again this year, right?
A few Halloween pics. Judah got mad at something right away and did his normal "shut down" mode where he wouldn't smile, talk, or even show anger. So very frustrating. His kind of drama is so different than Bethany's. Anyway, we managed to have a rushed but good time anyway. Stopped at a hand full of friends houses plus their neighbors and got too much candy. Carrying a candy bag and a light saber was hard on Darth Vader but we made it.
As a side note, I love eating halloween candy. It's my weakness. But yesterday when I stepped on the scale after being gone for 10 days to Ethiopia, it appears as though I'd shed a few pounds. What a perfect motivator to not touch the candy. So far, so good. And since I'm up way too early again, I might go to the treadmill. Then again, I might just fold laundry...