Archive for 2008

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 26, 2008

As I try to hold myself back from tearing down the decorations--yes, I am so ready to bid 2008 good-bye--I thought I'd post some pictures from our Christmas. I was not particularly looking forward to the holidays this year. So many traditions I love were not part of our plans this year. Partly due to three snowstorms and 10 days of below freezing temperatures and the lack of funds. I was in a downright bah-humbug sort of mood for the better part of this month. I commented to Trey that I hated feeling like Christmas was just another holiday to be endured. I just wanted it to be over with and I was dreading having to be "up" for two days when I felt the exact opposite. I really desired to have joy and focus on the "reason for the season" but the funk continued on. In spite of it all, I desperately tried to hold on to "the glass is half full" attitude as we headed to Seattle for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to be with my side of the family. It ended up being such a redeeming, special time--isn't that just like God?

December 25th was a day with many firsts. It was the first white Christmas the Seattle area has seen in 18 years. It was the first time my children went to a Christmas Eve service in the church I grew up in. It was the first time in several years my mom had all three of her children and their families together for Christmas Day. Everyone spent the night and my sister and I stayed up well past midnight re-hashing the day and reminscing of Christmases past. I can't recall us doing that since our college days. Finally, my uncle announced his engagement to a lovely lady we all adore so our family continues to grow. It may not have been what I was expecting but it was exactly what I needed.

Merry Christmas to all!
December 23rd

The whole gang

Uncle Bob and soon-to-be Auntie Grace

My always glamorous little sis



Monday, December 15, 2008

I don't even know how to begin this post. The above logo is one some of you local folks may have seen on bumper stickers or t-shirts over the past 18 months. You may have wondered if it was a new brand of surfboard or perhaps a cartoon. Unfortunately it is neither. The slogan and cute picture were put together by some dear friends of a young 7-year-old boy who is battling a "brain bump"--as he likes to call it.

Kyle "Kylie" Roger was diagnosed in February 2007 with a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma or DIPG. This particular tumor is most often found in children between the ages of five and ten years old. There is no cure and it is deemed inoperable because of the tumor's preferred location (at the brain stem). The average survival rate after initial diagnosis is 11 months. Children with DIPG living beyond a year is a mere eight percent. Kyle has defied the odds again and again.

Kyle's mom, Christin, has been a friend of mine since her older son and my middle son were classmates in preschool many years ago. I liked her the minute we met. This beautiful woman has had to bear more than anyone's fair share of pain and suffering yet through it all she remains tirelessly optimistic yet amazingly honest and vulnerable. She has kept all of us updated through Kyle's blog and most recently added "Christin's Diary" where she posts a daily journal entry. I know it is her private therapy yet I'm so thankful she trusts us to have a glimpse into her heart.

As the tumor grows more dense, in spite of chemotherapy and radiation, Kyle is beginning to display the many physical symptoms that often accompany its progression. In spite of this, Christin decided to host a Holiday Open House this weekend. I was reluctant to go for my own selfish reasons. What would I say? What if I broke down and made it worse for her? How would I respond when she asks me how I'm doing? How bad could my life really be compared to what she endures on a daily basis?

I'm so glad I went. It was great to see her. To hug her. To see Kyle. To see all the support she has from this community. To see her house and yard all decked out in "Griswold style"--as she is calling it this year. She is choosing to live and live fully no matter what the future may hold. May we all do the same this Christmas season and beyond.


It's the most wonderful time of the year

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Things I LOVE about this time of year:

  • Pulling out all the ornaments and recalling the fond memories attached to each one

  • Salvation Army bellringers. God bless those men and women.

  • Opening the mailbox and finding stacks of cards instead of bills and ads

  • 24 hours of Christmas songs on the local radio station

  • Seeing all those precious pre-school decorations the boys made over the years and being thankful I kept every one of them.

  • The kindness and generosity of people who "just know" that this is a season of giving even if they don't believe in Jesus.

  • Opening the family Christmas album, reading last year's letter and adding the current one.

Enjoy these next 22 days of Advent.



Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I am thankful :

  • for the ability to see, hear, walk, talk, taste, feel and touch
  • that I will have 11 people whom I love around my dining room table tomorrow
  • for my three happy, healthy boys
  • for a fall season that has been full of more sunshine than usual
  • for a warm bed to sleep in
  • for my steadfast, handsome husband
  • for God Almighty who has blessed me with all of these

For some Thanksgiving inspiration take a look at this one minute video from Good Morning America.



The One Thing

Monday, November 24, 2008

This afternoon as I was leaving the Post Office I bumped into one of those friends who I only seem to see in passing every 3 or 4 months. The last time I saw her she asked what was going on with my husband's work and proceeded to tell me how "it's always something with you guys and not ever having steady employment." Ouch! Like I didn't know this. Did I really need to be reminded?

For some reason, that God only knows, our family has not experienced more than two straight years of stable income since our first child was born in 1997. It's a sensitive subject. And one that seems to come up more often than I'd like to discuss it. I cringe inside when I know the topic is about to surface.

As soon as I saw her, my first thought was "Here we go". Sure enough: "What's going on with Trey?" I can't blame her. She was sincere in her question. It's no different than someone who has had health issues always being asked how they're feeling. Or somebody who has experienced rebellion in her children to be questioned with, "Where is your daughter these days?" I just get tired of not having a positive response. I grow weary of the look of "I feel sorry for you" on their faces. I worry that this will be always be our lot in life. Yet my response surprised even myself.

I shared with her that God had recently--very recently--brought me to the realization that we all have "our one thing". You know what I'm talking about. The wish that, if it came to fruition, would make your life perfect. Or so we think. For one person it might be an intimate, satisfying marriage. For another, a day that didn't involve taking multiple medications and spending the better part of her life on a dialysis machine. Yet isn't it this "one thing" that causes us to rely on God the most?

I think about how I am so quick to respond when I hear a friend talk about her trials--which usually center around an issue I'm not currently struggling with. In my mind I think, "I'm really sorry but at least you know where your next paycheck is coming from." (I clearly missed the sermon on bearing one another's burdens, huh?) I put a level of importance on my challenges versus hers. But really it's all the same.

What if God did relieve the pressure of our "one thing"? What need would we have for Him? Really? He knows us so well and He also knows how we would respond. I think about the times when life has gone my way and the challenges were few. The result? A smug outlook and a temptation to regularly pat my own back for "how hard we've worked."

Although I am not thrilled at the prospect of having the "same old story" for the foreseeable future, I'm glad I know the one who holds my future in His hands.


We never told her "no"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Since my last post of Halloween, I have pondered numerous times over many subjects. The election. The economy. The current happenings of the world. All of these are worthy topics and have certainly captivated my thoughts and feelings day in and day out. Yet time and time again I can't shake a recent conversation and its lasting impact on me.

About a week ago I took my oldest out for a "smoothie date". My purpose was to share with him a female perspective about the current behavior of his opposite sex classmates. He's had the "talk" with my husband and I've somewhat kept myself out of the discussions. I didn't think I had much widsom to offer him as I would if I was raising a daughter. I had been warned by other mothers about the aggressive nature of girls these days. I shrugged it off until the second week of September and the young ladies began calling with every excuse in the world to talk to my son. One evening when a group of them called at 10 p.m. on a Friday night I thought it was cute as I remember doing the same thing with my pre-teen girlfriends. As I reminisced about my behavior 20 some years ago I thought it might be a good idea to share with him what is probably going on in the head of a 12 year old girl. When the phone calls continued for the next week, day after day, I knewit was time to address the issue.

I beseeched God for the words of wisdom that I hoped would have a lasting impact on my son. I started the conversation with telling him about some of the unsavory choices I made as I was developing into a young woman. I explained to him that at the very heart of a girl are deep haunting questions: "Am I lovely? Am I pretty? Do you delight in me?" The first place she goes to have these questions answered is her father. If he is absent or emotionally unavailable, as mine was, she will then turn to boys in her search. I told her how I did that and my suspicion is that these girls (two of whom don't know their fathers) are doing the same. They are looking for love in all the wrong places. Combine that with a culture that tells them to "go for whatever they want" and you have quickly maturing young ladies aggressively pursuing slowly maturing young men.

I told him that although his dad and I would guide him through life with our values and convictions and God's word, ultimately the choice would be his. He could decide to be honorable and respect his female peers or choose what the world says is his for the taking--especially when some gals will be so freely offering it to him.

Just as I finished my "speech" a fellow dad walked in with his son. He walked over to our table and spilled his heart out right there. He openly shared with me the choices his once honor roll student/top athlete daughter was making as of late which had forced he and his wife to remove her from their home at the tender age of 17. Just a year ago I had talked to this couple and their beautiful, talented daughter had it all going for her. She was on her way to a scholarship for both academics and sports. They were beaming with pride as they updated me on their family. What could have possibly caused those plans to go south in twelve short months??? A bad choice involving the very subject my son and I were discussing. A choice that has ramifications to be felt for years to come.

This poor guy's heart was breaking as he kept repeating, "She was my baby girl". His timing couldn't have been more perfect and I was thankful he chose to be brutally honest in my son's presence. It made for further discussion in the following days and gave him a tangible picture of how one choice can change your entire future. As we said good bye the last thing this dad said to me was: " You know what we did wrong? We never told her 'no'."

Isn't that the common denominator in most heartache? An unwillingness to say 'no.' To ourselves and to others. I think about how often I give in just because it's easier. Because I don't feel like stopping what I'm doing to explain my answers. Because I'm too tired. Because I don't want to disappoint my child. I will take this man's words to heart as I navigate the rough waters ahead. I pray that God's grace and compassion will heal this family as I know He does not waste pain on any of us.

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Happy Halloween!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

"Indiana Bones", homeless guy and a robber

"Indiana Bones" reveals his identity

Carmen Miranda--it's ok if you don't know her-most
of the trick-or-treaters didn't either.

One person actually gave him some chores to do before he could have any candy at her house. I don't think he was expecting that.

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Ben is 7!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

84 months ago at 5:10 a.m. Benjamin Davis joined our family after a record long labor. All along I believed (and was told) that each subsequent birth a woman has will be even quicker than the previous one. Being that my middle child's delivery took a whopping 5 hours I worried that I might not make it to the hospital in time with this one. Ha!! Wrong!! Twenty--that's right 2-0-- hours of hard labor is what I endured to see this precious babe. Add that one to the long list of old wives' tales. Maybe that's why they're called that: The women are too old when they tell the stories and so their memories are selective.

I have a theory about childbirth: A baby's personality is extremely similar to the way in which he or she came into this world. This holds true for all of my children (and most of my friends' children) and especially applies to my youngest. I had a false alarm 2 days before the due date and did a mild induction (no pitocin just prostaglandin gel--don't ever do it) I left the hospital an hour after the procedure and was dilated to 2 cm. Twelve hours later I returned, only to be told I had progressed to a............3!! The nurse told me they'd give me a shot to help me sleep and when I woke up in the morning I'd be in full labor. As soon as they took me off the monitor and I waited for the shot, it all broke loose and I went from 3 to 5 in 5 minutes. Once I had the epidural at 11:00 p.m. , I didn't progress for three hours. Then a couple hours laterI had a baby boy in my arms.
All these details prove my point. This simply sums up Ben's personality: "I'm ready. Now I'm not. I might want that. No, I decided that I really don't. You think you have me figured out and then I'll throw a monkey wrench in your plans to see if you're paying attention." It's really quite comical.

So in honor of Ben's 7th birthday celebration allow me to share those seven attributes I love about that little boy who is rapidly becoming a big boy.

  1. Joyful-he came out of the womb smiling and hasn't stopped. His grin is from ear to ear and lights up his face. Even when he's frowning it doesn't last long. He just can't help but smiling and when you look at him, you just can't help but return the grin.
  2. Tenacious-when he wants to do something that his big brothers are doing or try a new activity, he doesn't let up. He'll stick with it until he's mastered the game or skill.
  3. Resilient-as the youngest of three boys, he has endured more bumps, bruises and scrapes than most. Even when he appears to be down for the count, it doesn't last long. The tears rarely continue more than 60 seconds before he's out there going for it again. If he catches a virus and the common course of symptoms is a week, he'll be over it in 48 hours--or less.
  4. Affectionate-as a newborn, he would nuzzle under your neck and stay there forever. He is still the best cuddler and gives hugs and kisses morning, noon and night.
  5. Hard working-he loves to learn and embraces every new subject whether in school or life. When he can't figure something out we often find him alone giving himself a pep talk on how to accomplish the task.
  6. Energetic-he wakes up and hits the ground running every day. "Walk" is not a word in his vocabulary. Slowing down only happens during REM. One of his nicknames is "Benny the Jet".
  7. Loving-he has the most tender heart. Recently, when I was under the weather, he called me from a playdate to see how I was feeling. It was the sweetest gesture ever!

Happy Birthday to you, Benjamin! You'll always be my baby! Love you forever, Mom

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Being Boys Not Allowed

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ask any man to share his favorite childhood memories and more often than not they involve playing in the woods. The forest is a magical place for young lads to explore, create, imagine and play. The words "boy" and "woods" are synonymous. At least they used to be.

Fast forward 30 years and try to remember the last time you even heard of a boy spending much time playing outdoors let alone in the trees. Is it the video games clammering for their attention or is it the response they get from the "protectors of the environment"? Seems to me that the trees and animals who dwell there are more important than the invaluable time spent a exploring the wilderness.

When we bought our recent home, one of the items on our "wish list" was that the house have a large forested lot or be close to woods. Having three active boys we knew this was a non-negotiable. What sold us on this neighborhood was the 100 acres of undeveloped land and a trail system butting up to the property. The trailhead to their school is a mere 75 yards from our driveway. For the first two years my boys would spend hours off the trails building small bike jumps and forts. They would come home to check in with contagious enthusiasm over their newest creation. Other boys who would normal stay indoors followed along and got hooked on enjoying our local forest. Then the "protectors of the land" got wind of it and it all came tumbling down--literally!

Every day after school the kids would head out to play and return home upset over their destroyed jumps. Mind you these mounds of dirt were at the bottom of gulley, off the beaten path and not visible from the trails. EVERYDAY they were dismantled. It was beyond aggravating. The boys would come home in tears and eventually their trips to the woods slowly dwindled to about once every two weeks.

We happen to live in what is referrred to as "the watershed". Our neighborhood area is upstream from the lake which supplies drinking water to 80,000+ residents. The city council has determined that growth and development is the cause of a rise in phosphorous levels in this body of water. As a result no dirt can be moved during the rainy season of Oct-May. The environmental advocates feel so passionate about protecting this area and keeping it undeveloped that this forested area is now labeled a "preserve". When we returned from vacation this last May, the sign above was posted at the beginning of the trailhead. The picture is of a jump our neighborhood kids built. What a slap in the face! Now the simple act of being a boy is now punishable by law!!

I'm all for being respectful to property but do they really think that making a few bike jumps and "moving the earth" is really the cause of rising phosphorous levels???? What about the dog owners who refuse to pick up after their canine. I'm sure there's no harm in that. It's those awful children out there being..........children!

So what used to be commonplace is now breaking the law. So the next time you see or hear about a teenager heading to juvenile detention don't assume it's for stealing, using drugs, or other misdemeanors. Their rap sheet could now conceivably include "moving dirt".


Mimi & Papa Jim's Visit

Thursday, October 16, 2008

We got to see Mimi & Papa Jim for the third time in 2008!
They just returned to Florida after 5 days immersed in our crazy household. We know it was an enormous contrast to their daily life of quiet and retired but they sure jumped in and kept up with the activity.
Below are some highlights of our visit:
Still needing to burn energy after two hours of soccer
Enjoying a beautiful sunny soccer Saturday
The three October birthdays
Mimi knitted Ben and Ian fabulous beanies. They haven't taken them off since she left.


Dr. Seuss

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Who doesn't know Dr. Seuss? I've always thought of him as the beloved children's author of Cat in The Hat, Green Eggs and Ham and the many other classics. Recently I was in a gift store and passed a display of small signs with many different quotes. This particular one caught my eye and then I noticed at the end it was attributed to Dr. Seuss. Who knew Dr. Seuss actually said something that made sense and used normal everyday words from the dictionary??I didn't buy the sign but his words would just not leave me. (I've posted the quote on my "inspiring words" widget to the right here.)

For the past forty years I have spent (wasted) enormous amounts of time and energy living in exact opposition of his advice. We always hear people say: "it doesn't matter what others think of you" "if they were really a true friend, etc.............." Blah. Blah. Blah. Living it is an entirely different subject. For most of my adult life I worked overtime to make certain that everyone was always okay with me. I apologized for everything under the sun, worried about how I was perceived by everybody and feared that I was always letting someone down.

Turning forty has been a gift. An epiphany of sorts. You come to the realization that time is so fleeting and start prioritizing life in a way that reflects this quote. For me I've relinquished the reality that I don't have the power to make everyone happy. I can't be all things to all people. And it's not God's call on my life. He has a unique purpose for me and the only one whose approval I need is His. And what's even better: I already have it!

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?" Isaiah 43:18-19


Ian is 10

Monday, September 15, 2008

Today marks a decade since the culmination of my best pregnancy and fastest delivery. Ian Joseph came into this world at 3:43 p.m. in Charlotte, North Carolina on a beautiful sunny summer day and life has never been the same--nor would I want it to be.

My middle child has officially entered the double digits so this post is about honoring his wonderful personality and most welcomed addition to our lives.

In honor of Ian's tenth birthday, I am borrowing Vicki Courtney's fabulous tradition that she uses on her blog when one of her children is celebrating his or her special day.

Ten Qualities I Love About Ian:

  1. Loyal. Once this kid is your friend, he isn't going anywhere.

  2. An animal lover. He has a bleeding heart for all of God's creatures great and small.

  3. Decisive. The boy knows what he wants and there is no swaying him when his mind is made up.

  4. Adventurous. He is always up for an adventure. Once you make mention of a plan to explore some new territory, he will start packing and planning before the conversation is finished.

  5. Tenderhearted. Although he can come across reserved and distant, this child has so much compassion for others-especially babies and toddlers. He takes great care in handling those younger than him.

  6. A quick study. Once you teach him a skill, he has it mastered almost immediately. Even when he doesn't seem like he's paying attention, he won't miss a thing.

  7. Curious. He's always willing to learn new things and asks great questions about how something works. He loves to connect the cause and effect of relationships.

  8. Modest. Although he's competitive like most boys, he never wants anyone to feel bad about losing. Other than with his brothers, he rarely makes a big deal out of his athletic ability.

  9. Wilderness guy. He is passionate about God's creation. He absolutely loves exploring the great outdoors. Give the boy a BB gun and a knife and he'll be occupied from sunrise to sunset.

  10. Handsome. Of course I'm biased but he is pretty darn cute. That smile will melt your heart and he can be quite charming when he wants to be.



Remembering Michael

Friday, September 12, 2008

Today marks three years since the passing of our friend Michael, the young man pictured above. Our families grew up together and he was the baby of all of us. A spirited young boy, he was always quick to smile and full of life. As an adult, Michael struggled with issues that eventually overwhelmed him to the point of taking his own life. He was a young, vibrant 28 years old.

Thankfully Michael had the presence of mind to leave a long letter for his family. Many surviving families aren't as fortunate to receive this gift. The grieving process can be much longer and more difficult when they don't have the reasons why.

Michael's family has been a part of a great organization called the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. In June of this year, his mom, sister and my mom volunteered at a local AFSP vernight walk called Out of the Darkness which raised funds to call attention to a subject which isn't discussed enough. Next month, I wil be part of a team for the Puget Sound Walk at Greenlake Park in Seattle. We are calling ourselves "Team Michael".

If you or someone you love has had the devastating experience of losing someone to suicide, would you please consider making a donation? In loving memory of Michael. May he rest in peace.

I love this song and video. Please watch and say a prayer for Michael's family as they honor his memory today and every day.


Officially Published

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Back in April I posted that I had won a writing contest by Vicki Courtney--a foremost expert on all things teen culture. She requested articles (750 words or less) on subjects which would be of interest to teenage girls. I had been working on an essay for a friend's yet to be published book: "You Didn't Wait Mom, Why Should I?" I pulled up the file on my computer, did a little editing and sent it off to Vicki.

Ten days later Vicki posted on MY blog--what a treat--and informed me that I was a winner. The prize was a Starbucks card and my article published at a later date on her Virtuous Reality website. I just received an email from her office asking if they could post a picture of my family with my article. So here it is. Let me know if you can't read it and I'll send a copy to you.


Millie: Post-Op

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Ok, I know this one is gross. Sorry, but doesn't everyone want to see the battle scars?? Maybe it's just my boys. Probably.
As of three days ago, we have joined the ranks of responsible pet owners and had Miss Millie spayed. The official term on my vet bill was "ovariohysterectomy". I guess that means in addition to her uterus they took the ovaries too. A double whammy. Poor pooch.
I must admit it was nice to have her lay helpless on the floor for all of Friday evening. But come Saturday morning she was back to her regular old playful self. The vet's instructions indicated she would be down and mellow for a few days and should only be taken outside on the leash to go potty. Far be it for a member of our family to follow protocol. Did I say "member of our family"? Oh my, Millie in the Christmas card pictures is next! I'm ruined.


New Beginnings

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The first day of school is one of my favorite days ever but this year was different. Melancholy. A lingering feeling of just being unsettled. In spite of my mood there was an excitement in the air around here beginning at 6:40 a.m. when ALL of the boys arose. (this is definitely a first). I have loved every new stage and elementary school has been a precious, golden time. I never shed a tear when any of them boarded the bus for Kindergarten. I looked forward to the day after Labor Day every year. Why the pensive mood?

I finally figured it out. This is the first year when all three boys will not be attending the same school. Quinn is entering sixth grade which means middle school. He leaves an hour earlier and catches his bus 3 blocks away to a building five miles across town. I quickly snapped the photo below and off he went. Ian & Ben hopped on their bikes and raced down the trail. I drove over to the elementary school so I could capture one last picture and make sure they knew where their classrooms were. "We're fine, Mom!" I found myself looking around the playground for Quinn. His class has been replaced by the new "big kids on campus" It just felt quieter. I couldn't believe that after 7 years of "first days of school" that I began to cry. The reality of "this is how it's going to be from now on." It's an unavoidable part of them growing up. It's all good but hard nonetheless. Ok, I'll stop now.

It was probably a good thing I couldn't stay until the bell rang because I had to report for day one at my new job!!! Another transition but a welcomed one. I haven't officially worked outside the home for almost 12 years. Sure I've done some freelance work and some temporary or seasonal jobs here and there but this is a real-life gainfully employed type of job. I even have an iPhone!! (My family is most impressed by this fact).

So what am I doing?? A friend of ours recently purchased a local baking company that has been in the area for 14 years. They were in need of someone to re-introduce the company and the products to local restaurants, caterers and hotels. He called a few weeks ago to see if I was interested. Interested in making new friends, pushing sweets, sharing my baking knowledge, only working 20 hrs a week from home and guaranteed to be off the clock by 2:30??? DUH! Plus he's a great guy who is very fair and supports my desire for our family to be a priority.

I had been praying this summer about what God had for me this fall as all of my children would be in school full days. I wasn't actively pursuing anything specific just waiting. It's been my experience that when I've tried to make something happen it usually backfires. I wasn't looking for a relationship much less marriage when Trey crossed my path. I wasn't intending to add to our family so quickly when Ian was conceived. I wasn't expecting to move back to the Northwest when Trey got a job offer out of the blue. Because I wasn't looking I know this is from Him and the biggest blessings in life end up occurring when we get out of the way.

It seems like endings and beginnings cover both ends of the spectrum emotionally. Like my kids always say in those moments, "I'm happy/sad" That's a perfect description of today.

Last time together before leaving for separate schools. (sniff)

This better be the last picture Mom, we want to play!

Mom's first day at her new job

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Five more hours of bliss....

Sunday, August 31, 2008

...until my family returns from their 4th annual Labor Day weekend camping trip/Mom's sanity time after 3 months of "I'm bored". It has been heavenly. Just to give you an idea of how quiet it's been: I can hear my computer humming as I pass by it. I know the house hasn't been this clean and organized since last Labor Day.

Typically on these weekends I compose a monstrous to-do list and attempt to cross off every item. My crew headed south on Thursday afternoon and I immediately began painting the hallways and stairways. After four years of living here, looking at the walls you might think "10 years" Yuk! Five hours later I collapsed. Friday morning I woke up with a very sore lower back and took a hiatus from all things physically taxing. Saturday I tackled the walls again and finished about 85% and called it a day. A friend who didn't know I was alone called and we walked and had a long, uninterrupted visit. Again, blissful.

Despite how relaxing and self-serving this time has been it makes me realize that even though I've made the threat many times this summer, I really don't want to live alone. It's just plain, I don't know how else to put it: LONELY. Life is meant to be shared. We need to experience sacrifice to appreciate the solitude. Focusing on myself for 72 hours has been soul filling but I can't imagine living this way and not feeling a bit empty at the end of the day.

In four hours and forty minutes the noise level will return to its normal decibel, dishes will fill the sink, the bickering will resume, cute boys will fill every bed and my heart will be content. Until tomorrow. :)


Soccer Mom, Part Two

Monday, August 25, 2008

I've never been prone to bragging and the parents who incessantly boast about their offsprings' many achievements can be annoying--to say the least. We all enjoy celebrating our childrens' shining moments but I try hard to not be overt or arrogant in my excitement. However, after reading this morning's paper I just had to post.

My oldest son's soccer team played in their last summer tournament this past weekend. They lost in the semi-finals and as they were leaving the field, he and a teammate were interviewed by a Bellingham Herald sports writer. This morning as I opened the paper there were my firstborn's words all over the front page of the Sports section. You need to understand that in a town of 65,000 making the paper is a big deal. I know, kind of lame but nonetheless a reality. I hope this isn't his "15 minutes of fame" but it did make this momma proud to read her baby in quotes. Read the article here.

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Take the "Momfidence" quiz

Monday, August 18, 2008

I know that not everyone who peruses my blog is a "mom" but after my last post I read an article that turned me on to Paula Spencer. Ms. Spencer is an author who writes a monthly column for Woman's Day called "Momfidence".

I felt compelled to give her some positive feedback about her most recent article, Why I Don't Cheer. I tried to find a way to post the article here but came up short. However, I did find my way onto her blog and took her quiz. Click here to take it. Try and guess if I was an "A", "B" or "C".


20 days until school starts

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

But who's counting?? I AM! Why do I forget every year that once we hit about the 10th of August the fighting escalates, patience wanes and the phrase "I'm bored" is heard about 200 times a day?? This time every year I say that I'm going to put the kids in a camp, plan a vacation, do all those local day trips, etc. and it rarely comes to fruition. Our "summer fun funds" don't go as far as they used to and my creativity is zapped.

As I write this I'm thinking "others must be wondering why I had children". Well, to do all my household chores and yardwork, of course. Ha!

On the positive side it has been a low key summer without an abundance of activities or long road trips. Knowing this heading into June, I was dreading the 11 weeks ahead of me. To be honest, even though it's been a little more boring than usual it's also been a nice change of pace. I've seen the boys be creative and use their imaginations. My oldest started a lawn mowing/watering business which has kept him busier than he (or I) had expected. My middle one has enjoyed initiating playdates and riding his bike to and from friends' houses. My youngest has found a best friend in our dog Millie.

So before you want to poke my eyes out with your newly sharpened pencils from your school supply outing, take comfort in the fact that I took 5 boys to the local fair yesterday. My first thought this morning was "Surely there's a camp with three openings somewhere out there!"


16 years of wedded bliss....

Sunday, August 3, 2008

So maybe "bliss" is a bit of a stretch especially to those who know us well and have walked through the trials and tribulations of matrimony. This past weekend we did celebrate 16 years since we said "I Do". Has it been easy? No way. Would we say it again? You bet.

In a world of an alarming divorce rate and a general disdain for marriage itself I'd like to post some encouraging facts about getting hitched. Recently I stumbled upon an article by a woman named Carol Fox titled, "18 Cheers for Marriage". Carol has been married for over fifty years so I have no problem believing or taking advice from someone who has stuck it out and still has a positive outlook after half a century. In honor of my anniversary I'm sharing the top 16 "cheers" below.
1. Marriage promotes good mental health: there is less stress and more confidence that comes with companionship - someone to talk things over with. With the extra help comes a new contentment. At the very least it frees you from the pressure of finding someone to spend your life with!

2. Marriage improves physical health: a good diet, regular meal times and improved sleeping habits prolong life. With another person concerned, you're more likely to keep doctors' appointments, take prescribed medication and discuss findings. With a good and faithful partner chances of disease from promiscuity are greatly reduced.

3. Marriage looks after your emotional health: with a new stability in life, positive virtues such as loyalty and courage develop. Marriage gives an opportunity for love's full expression and for that emotional strength to grow. Of course, negative emotions like jealousy and anger still arise but they have a better chance of being resolved.

4. Marriage brings out the best in an individual: you grow together in patience, understanding, unselfishness and perseverance. You just can't do that with a cat.

5. Marriage develops character through obligations and responsibilities.

6. Marriage equals true friendship: one of the big advantages of a lasting, committed relationship is having someone you can really let go with and be yourself around - because you know they'll still be there tomorrow.
7. Marriage promotes economic stability: making budgets, saving, discussing spending and setting priorities - all this is easier when you are accountable to another person. When you make decisions together, there is less impulsive spending. That's why married families are the most prosperous.

8. Marriage promotes personal fulfillment and productivity: it enhances the creative abilities of each, because necessity is the mother of invention and with the division of labor more is accomplished.

9. Marriage is a living organism: the unified entity of marriage, "the two becoming one," affords an opportunity to participate in something much larger than "my own life." This makes the simple tasks of everyday life exponentially more exciting.

10. To each marriage there are moral, social and political implications: it takes you out of your own small world and into a larger one. Each marriage affects life profoundly and eventually helps create a more cohesive society. Marriages make history, but it all begins by making another person's happiness important to you.

11. Marriage encourages and expands the scope of your interests, many of which may be shared, whether hobbies, sports or pastimes, or, more importantly, involvement in community affairs, charitable or educational organizations, and religious life.
12. Marriage is the best environment for the raising of children. It makes its mark on the next generation.

13. Marriage creates a family lineage, putting you in touch with those who went before and those yet to come. Through marriage you are connected to ancestors and become the carriers of a tradition.

14. Marriage creates a social unit, encompassing friends, extended family, neighbors, friends of the children, etc. One builds a home where that unit can flourish.

15. Marriage develops compassion for others. It gives plentiful opportunity to protect and nurture, to surrender our desires at times, and to be present and just caring.

16. Marriage gives direction and spirit to our lives.



Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It was a beautiful evening, Millie needed some exercise and the boys had a surplus of energy to burn. We headed down to a local park and were enjoying the sunset when a man who referred to himself the "Dog Whisperer" offered Millie a treat, chatted for a minute and walked away.

While the kids and Trey kicked the soccer ball around, Millie and I headed around the path and there on a bench the mystery man appeared again. Millie knew he had the goods and practically accosted him. I asked if he had a dog and he told me he had just put down his two black Labs. He went on to tell me that he couldn't have a dog right now because he was homeless. He pointed to his car in the parking lot and said that was where he was sleeping until he began receiving Social Security next month. He gave me a bit of his life history (Alaska fisherman, back injury, disabled, etc.) and as I continued asking questions, simply out of curiosity, I discovered he had not eaten in two days.

As Millie and I walked away I kept thinking of Jesus' words: "When I was hungry, you gave me to eat, when I was thirsty you gave me to drink...." I was so burdened for this stranger but also wondered if he was selling me a bill of goods. I can't count the number of times I've bypassed a panhandler at the intersection writing him off as another drunk and refusing to put a penny in his dirty hands. Why did this circumstance feel so markedly different?

I went to my car, grabbed some cash and returned to his bench. I placed the money in his hand, told him to get some food and wished him well. He asked if I was from around here and said what I did was "such a Bellingham thing to do and that is why he loved this place and returned here to start a new life." I told him I was just following my heart and maybe I'd see him around again. His response: "You definitely will."

Whether he is full of it or for real, that is between him and God. Whether he uses it for drugs, alcohol or a hot meal I will never know. Or will I?


My friend Alex

Monday, July 21, 2008

I just received an email from our friend Alex Hedgepeth in Arkansas. This guy has such a heart for people--especially young men. I love his periodic updates--they always give me something to ponder and sometimes act on--and I wanted to share this one. I keep badgering him to start his own blog but for now I will give him space on mine.

Hey Friends,
Well, those who have known me for a while and have been wondering when I was going to move again, you can stop wondering, we moved into Siloam Springs two weeks ago. I know, surprise, surprise. There were several reasons for our move, the chief being for Courtney and Tatum to go to school there. Several reasons for this include, one, we feel led for them to be in school instead of being home schooled, and they will have an opportunity to play volleyball (which they both dearly love and excel at) there. I had to leave my job at New Life to move (rule about living there), so I am pursuing what God’s next step for me is. I have an application in At JBU’s center for relationship enrichment (and it is moving at glacial speed) for a position that would assist with their Northwest AR healthy marriage initiative. I am ready to be working with adults and men especially again, so I ask for your prayers as I pursue this next step.
Truthfully, I have a book on my heart I would like to write about identity, so if any of you have seen any material on that subject, please let me know.
We know that God ahs always made us let go of what we have before He has shown us our next step. Right now, I am remodeling the house we bought and keeping really busy with that. No, actually right now I am on my way to Tucson AZ to watch Courtney play in a HP national tournament. She made a regional all star team that is playing here. WE are going to enjoy SW NM today and be in Tucson tomorrow. Tatum’s team won their region and played in the JO national tourney in Dallas where they finished 42nd in the nation. They had some good moments and bad. I was proud of Tatum in that she never got down on herself or her teammates and played hard the whole time. When it comes down to it, that’s the reason for youth sports, to give them opportunities to lead, face adversity, and fellowship with others. Anything else just stresses out parents.
OK, enough about me, now for the latest hero I know. His name is Stephen and he is a mechanic in Siloam Springs. This winter, I was at an auto parts store owned by a friend of mine, and was asked would I talk to someone who was down. Sure, I answered. They called Steven there and he was at the end of his rope. He was trying to help some kids that had been in the DHS system in OK for some time. Dad was in prison for life and mom was no where to be found. These kids had been in 18 different foster placements. They had suffered much abuse in some of those homes but especially in their home of origin, so you can imagine how hard they were to deal with. Steven experienced urine in his shoes, excrement on the walls, yelling, crying, anger, etc along with terrible progress in school, and quite frankly, teachers that were ready to give up on the kids.
I told him how courageous he was to take on this battle and that Satan was going to pur it on hard for awhile longer, but, scripture tells us to resist and he will flee, so Rex and I encouraged him to hang in there awhile longer. He did, it got better and then more attacks came, DHS red tape, the runaround, threatening to take the kids away, all of which scared the kids and caused them to act out more, after they showed that when things were stable in their life, they would do well.
Things finally came to a head about a month ago, when Steven was in the process of adopting them. Much was thrown at him and they kids. They hung in there and persevered and succeeded with the adoption. He told me later, “I never would have believed that any one thing could make that much difference, but they are TOTALLY different kids know that they know they will never have to leave again”. My hat is off to this man. He has fought the good fight. It might now ever make the papers, or get fame and fortune for this, but he is a genuine HERO!
As I was writing this I thought about how Galatians tells us we have been adopted into God’s family. We don’t have to act out anymore either! It does make that much difference!
So, prayers for me please. Also, I have some friends that are thinking about getting a divorce because they don’t have anything in common anymore. I really feel led to step in and tell them what a foolish and tremendous mistake they are making, so I really need some prayer for that also. I feel like taking the husband down the street to my friend whose wife is a paraplegic, and yet he continues to care for her and do EVERYTHING for her, it makes me love my wife more every time I look at his house (he’s another hero).
So, I will write again when I have news.
Your Brother


The Life of a Soccer Mom

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Prior to becoming a parent, whenever I heard others refer to someone as a "soccer mom" it would conjure up images of a ponytail wearing, Suburban driving, middle aged gal carting her kids to practices, games and tournaments. I imagined she lived vicariously through her child while controlling his schedule and pushing him to be the next Beckham. I decided she "obviously didn't have a life" and I would never be her. Fast forward 11 years and here I am.

The reason I haven't had a post in 12 days is because Quinn and I just returned from a 6 day road trip to Boise, Idaho (600 miles from here) to play a total of four soccer games--two of which were against a team 30 miles away. Don't ask. I can now add this experience to my list of "I'll nevers." You know, the ones that belong on the tally sheet of all the actions I'm now guilty of since becoming a dog owner.

We thought long and hard about the ramifications of allowing Quinn to try out for this soccer team. We knew it would require a great deal of time, logistical effort and currency. Would it be fair to the younger boys? If we said "no" to Quinn because of his younger siblings, what legitimate reason would we have to say "no" to Ben when his time came?

Although we're only two months into the season, I can deduce that it's been the right decision thus far. Not only is Quinn in his element, but this is an exceptional group of young men. I would be proud to call all 15 of them my own--without the laundry or grocery bill, of course. They are kind and encouraging to one another and respectful to their coaches, referees and parents. What I witnessed over the last week was a pleasant surprise. When other teams were playing dirty, shoving them, tripping them and using foul language they maintained their dignity and played like professionals. When they had to wake up at 5:30 a.m. (which was 4:30 their time) they were in the hotel lobby with smiles on their faces. When they were told "no swimming" to conserve their energy for the following day's game, no one complained. When they had to play in the late afternoon's 100 degree heat, those boys gave it 100% and left their hearts out on the field.

I've since decided that the definition of "soccer mom" fits most every mother out there. She is someone who is willing to sacrifice time, sleep and convenience for the joy of watching her son or daughter learn, grow and excel in life. Whether our kids participate in team or individual sports, music, art or another extracurricular activity, we are all desiring the same outcome. The challenges and the victories are equally as gratifying no matter what the subject. There really is a little bit of "soccer mom" in all of us.

I don't regret our decision at all. Quinn is learning some incredibly valuable life lessons both during the game and on the sidelines. I, on the other hand, am still trying to learn the definition of "offsides".


The east coast still has my heart

Monday, June 30, 2008

1988: The year that changed everything. Twenty years later and I still look back on that summer as the most pivotal time of my life.

The comment on my previous post is from my dear friend Donny who shared that summer with me. Young, naive and impressionable we set out to take on the Big Apple when the furthest east either of us had been was probably Idaho. It was only my second time boarding an airplane! Like I said, "naive".

Hearing from him opened the floodgates of those memories and I had to find my scrapbook and re-live those incredible 9 weeks. It was midway through my sophomore year of college and I hadn't yet secured a summer job. A friend from the dorms suggested I go work for her brother's company. He owned a business that hired college students to paint houses, wash windows and clean gutters in the wealthy suburbs of Chicago, Boston, New York and Connecticut. (they had also begun hiring European students who wanted an American summer experience.) When I shared the idea with my sister and a couple friends they all said, "Let's go to New York!" Being "Miss-Good-For-Her-Word" I promptly contacted my friend's brother Marty, filled out all the paperwork and bought my airline ticket. As departure day loomed the rest of them decided it wasn't such a good idea and decided they'd be staying in Seattle. YIKES! New York by myself was not in my plan. Luckily Donny was the adventurous type and when he heard everyone bailed on me he bought his ticket to join me a week later.

My parents took me to the airport and I arrived at LaGuardia airport and NO ONE was there to greet me. I thought I'd been scammed. Shortly thereafter a station wagon full of 19 & 20 year old co-eds arrived to greet me. We drove to Yonkers, NY and Elizabeth Seton college where they had all been staying for the past month. (I was on a quarter/tri-mester system) They were sweet gals and tried to make me feel welcome but to say I was out of my comfort zone would be an understatement.

Two mornings later we left at 6:30 a.m. to gather 20 minutes away at the guys' dorm for our daily assignments. (the owners were Christians so they always added a 10 minute devotional which was really cool). Since the all-female window washing crews were full, I joined three guys to slug it out in the humidity--which I had never experienced. We painted houses for 10 hours a day! It was then I realized how very spoiled I was. I came back to my (non-air-conditioned) dorm and cried myself to sleep every night. On the fifth night I called home and informed my parents that I was coming home. My mom's response: "your airline ticket says you can't return until August 20th." Being an inexperienced flier, I was unaware that one could walk up to the airline counter and pay $50 to change a return trip. This ended up being the biggest blessing my mother could have given me.

I returned to my room and knew I had a choice to make: I could make the most of the next two months or be completely and utterly miserable. I'm so glad I chose the former over the latter because I ended up having the time of my life. My eyes were opened to a much bigger world than I ever knew existed and I couldn't get enough. We spent the 4th of July in the Boston harbor, road tripped to Washington D.C., took the train to the city almost every night, returned at 1 a.m. and got up the next day to work and do it all over again. (reminder: we were 20). I met people from ALL walks of life. Two precious ladies from Ireland (Freda and Katherine) joined us around July and we all fell in love with them. I had never even KNOWN a person from another country. In addition to all of this I experienced the value of really hard work on very little sleep for the first time.

When I returned to Seattle I realized this: the confidence one builds from moving somewhere completely foreign, having to find your way around a new city and make friends is an experience I have always wanted for everyone--especially my kids. When I hear that one of our friends is having to do just that I get so envious. I would have been a great military wife.

Sidebar: I returned a second summer and then tried like mad to land an internship there as part of completing my degree in 1990. I got a job with Travel & Leisure magazine but couldn't find anywhere affordable to live. Shortly after I started dating my husband (who's from the east coast) we packed our bags, returned there and settled in the Washington D.C. area for the first four years of our marriage. We then went on to Charlotte, NC for six years and God brought us back to the NW in 2001.

I realize that it is not God's plan for everyone to do what I did and when I share this I'm not saying I believe everyone has to have the same desires. Leaving our comfort zone looks different for each of us. What I am saying is that it can never hurt to broaden our perspective and oftentimes it's easier to do when we leave the security and familiarity of our "homeland." I've never met a person who has done that and looked back with any regret.

As much as I do like it here in the Pacific Northwest, I've never felt more at home than I do on the eastern seaboard. That part of the country remains in my heart. Perhaps I will return there one day or I may end up living out the rest of my days here in Bellingham. Whatever God has for me, I continue to cherish those experiences, treasure those friendships made twenty years ago and be thankful I got a humbling taste of a different culture.

Here are some pictures from those unforgettable days.

Gotta love the big hair!! Grace (on the far left) was my roomie.

Donny and I waiting to board our plane back to Seattle.

We were required to do a service project for one weekend.
This was a Christian rehab center in upstate New York run by Manhattan Bible Church.

On the left is Bojan "Bo" Kostic from Croatia. He stayed in New York, got his citizenship and completed his education. He was living the "American Dream", working in the World Trade Center as a bond trader, when his life was lost during the September 11th attacks. May you rest in peace, dear friend.


In The Waiting Place

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Many times over the past year or so I've used that phrase to describe the place I/my family find ourselves in. You might remember the reference to this fictional location in the Dr. Seuss book, "Oh The Places You'll Go!" Funny how the author emphasizes the waiting instead of the going. Isn't God the same way?

While rummaging through 10 days of mail upon returning from our vacation, there was a note from someone I had recently met. She took some verses from Psalm 27 referencing "wait on the Lord" but inserted my name in the paraphrase.....I am confident that you Dana, will see the goodness of the Lord. Wait on the Lord. Wait, wait on the Lord." The next piece of mail I opened was a Focus on the Family magazine. The first article I turned to was titled "Patient Expectation". Do ya sense a theme here?

As we continue to pray about future and present plans the only response we're certain we've heard is "WAIT!" But like a spoiled child I complain, "But I don't want to!!! If you want me to wait, then tell me what it is I'm waiting for." If He did that, it wouldn't be called "faith" would it?

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

While checking out couple blogs I like to visit, I came across this meme. Instead of the usual "getting to know you" that travels around from time to time, you're only allowed one word answers. A tall order for a wordy like me.

Here it goes:

1. Where is your cell phone? purse
2. Your significant other? cute
3. Your hair? unstyled
4. Your mother? patient
5. Your father? odd
6. Your favorite thing? sleep
7. Your dream last night? bothersome
8. Your favorite drink? coffee
9. Your dream/goal? published
10. The room you’re in? nook
11. Your hobby? baking
12. Your fear? paralysis
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Southeast
14. Where were you last night? sofa
15. What you’re not? lazy
16. Muffins? yes
17. The last thing you did? bath
18. What are you wearing? jeans
19. Something you’re not wearing? socks
20. Your mood? melancholy
21. Your summer? lame
22. Person you tag? whoever reads this post!


It's Official: I have a middle schooler

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Friday was "goodbye" to the elementary years for my firstborn. He is officially a sixth-grader and we will soon enter a whole new world. I swear the "eye rolling" and attitude began on Saturday morning! However, this child has always been such an "old soul" that I'm excited for him to begin this next phase of his journey to adulthood.

What I can't seem to get over is that he is transitioning into a time period which I so vividly remember myself. How is that possible when 27 years have passed? (tell me I did not peak in 8th grade) I was not one of those who despised adolescence. After six years of parochial school, uniforms and carpools, I was now allowed to wear "street clothes", makeup, have my ears pierced and take the school bus. I was finally going to school with my neighborhood friends and felt oh so important. The only caveat was that they had been taking the school bus for six years and it wasn't all that cool any longer.

As we all know, middle school in our current times offers a new set of challenges than it posed in the early '80's. We didn't have cell phones, a My Space page or the pressure to be physically involved that these kids do. I've heard many stories from parents who have walked before me. Some have had excellent experiences and others aren't so stellar. It's such an awkward time and it will surely be fraught with good days and bad. I'll keep you posted as I strap in forwhat's sure to be a wild ride.


Vacation's over but I'm in denial

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I meant to blog one more post to happily announce that the weather had dramatically improved. Days 4-9 were sunny and 85! That made it not very important for me to sit at the computer. I had other more pressing (and shallow) matters like working on my tan.

It's been a rougher than normal transition back to real life. I am not unpacking my suitcase in protest of the end of my fantasy life. (that's just an excuse for my laziness, really) I realize how easy it is for us to romanticize somewhere you don't currently live and believe that life would be remarkably better there. Trey and I spent the last two days doing just that. When you're not particularly thrilled about the current state of affairs, moving on seems quite appealing--especially to somewhere that sees sunshine most every day of the year.

Maybe it's because the Southeast and Northwest are so dramatically different one would think he was living in a foreign country. I penned these differences in my journal one day. We love coffee here, they drink sweet tea. When we cook outdoors we call it a barbecue and they "grill out." If you bring someone home a memento from your trip it's a souvenir. For southerners it's a sercey (pronounced SER-SEE). A trip to the coast here is called "the ocean" and there everyone goes to "the beach".

Below are some of my favorite shots of the trip.

They got to know us very well at the Chick-fil-A

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Florida Vacation-Day 3

Friday, May 23, 2008

It looks like we brought Bellingham's weather with us to Florida. I was so looking forward to making everyone back home seeth with jealousy as I penned about our days of frolicking in the sun. Splitting our time between the beach and the pool. Retiring to the back porch for an evening of watching golfers, sipping sweet tea and listening to the harmony of the crickets.

Here's what I get for being so shallow: Not rising the first morning until almost noon--we did get in at 1:00 a.m. afterall. By the time we got it together the sun was a distant memory behind the clouds that were arriving for the next two days. Day two the sun didn't show her face--AT ALL. Made our way to the hood of Jacksonville to "one of the first skateboard parks ever built in America". Trey reminded us how many occasions he had visited this place as a young lad. It wasn't such a big deal when he discovered that most of the skaters hitting the rails with my kids weren't EVEN BORN the last time Trey was here.

Today we got up "early" around 9 a.m. and hurriedly readied ourselves for a day of sun and surf. As Mimi and I settled our buns onto the beach to watch the boys test their boogie boards against the waves, the skies opened up. While Trey and the kids threw caution to the wind ("we're getting wet anyway") we huddled under the boardwalk and an umbrella willing the sun to find its way to us. No such luck. The only thing that found us was some hungry seagulls. Two hours later everyone (but me) was at the movie theater watching the new Indiana Jones movie. We're still holding out hope for tomorrow.

On the brighter side, (no pun intended) it is 80 degrees! That makes it count as a tropical vacation, right?


My Extreme Blog Makeover

Saturday, May 17, 2008

How do you like the new look?

Compliments of Mr. Bush, I was able to hire a very cool chick to recreate my blog. The reason I mention our Commander-in-Chief is that thanks to our economic stimulus check there were some extra funds to cover this project. It has been on my to-do list for a few months but other items took priority. Like groceries and gas and keeping the heat on May. Yes, May. (another subject for a different post)

Below is an email I received about spending that refund to help stimulate our economy. Enjoy.

"The federal government is sending each of us a $600 rebate.
If we spend that money at Wal-Mart, the money will go to China.
If we spend it on gasoline, it will go to the Arabs.
If we purchase a computer, it will go to India.
If we purchase fruit and vegetables it will go to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.
If we purchase a good car it will go Japan.
If we purchase useless crap, it will go to Taiwan.
The only way to keep that money at home, is to buy beer as it's the only thing still produced in the United States.
Thanks for your help!"

Is this a great country or what?

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Millie Update

Thursday, May 15, 2008

All week I have been mulling over numerous subjects that I've been wanting to blog about. Going "Green" without going crazy. Our new summer houseguest. Helping kids cope with disappointment. Links to friends' new blogs I want to share with you.

I plan on hitting those subjects in the coming days but for today I thought I'd venture into a much more shallow topic: Miss Millie the rapidly growing pup. (see previous posts for pics and intial introduction)

Please don't worry that I have become obsessed over my canine. She is very cute and fun but not interesting enough to blog about weekly. I do realize this is the third time I have blogged about her but this isn't just about HER. Keep reading.

I have not darkened the doors of a Veterinarian office in almost 10 years. Our other two pets didn't live long enough to warrant a visit to the Vet. God rest their souls. We've owned Millie for 6 weeks now and I knew I had to get her in for vaccinations and that I was probably past due. Living in a town in which many believe dogs are of equal or greater status than people, I feared the tongue lashing I might get when my incompetence as a pet owner was made public.

Today Ben and I took Millie to her first visit. I was so proud that I remembered to bring the immunization records from her previous owner. I was promptly told they were basically worthless and we'd be starting all over since too much time had lapsed since her initial shots. Bad pet owner offense #1.

The "vet tech"(never knew there was such a term) came out to greet Millie like a long lost friend. Ben and I weren't acknowledged but reluctantly invited to join her in the exam room. The doctor then came in and repeated the fact that they needed to administer new shots and follow up again in 3 weeks for more--oh, and bring a stool sample. (I briefly considered going back to the park across the street and retrieving the lovely plastic bag of her fecal matter I had just thrown in the garbage on our walk over there). I mentioned Millie's incessant need to want to void on the kitchen floor several times a day and inquired as to when that might cease. Oh, what a surprise, I really need to keep an eye on this and if it continues, bring in a urine sample. Cha-ching!

I'm almost done. When we returned to the lobby to check out, Ben tried to lure Millie away from the small dog wandering around that clearly belonged to an employee there. He was sincerely trying to protect the smaller animal. The receptionist informed him that the two dogs "have it all worked out between them and can communicate with each other in a language only they can understand." PULEEZE!!

Yes, I know I was visiting a veterinarian clinic and their job is to take care of our pets but I'm sorry, that was just an ODD experience. Whatever happened to getting Fido or Fifi their rabies vaccine and some good old Purina at the supermarket and leaving the rest up to nature ?? Pet care has turned into a multi-million or possibly billion dollar industry and we've somehow been convinced that we are irresponsible, heartless human beings if we choose food on the table over $800 in vet bills. It's the new status symbol.

Before anyone is tempted to report me to the Humane Society (that's already been done when our cat decided to climb a 100 ft. tree, stay up there two days, jumped down and broke her leg in the process--but somehow that was OUR fault for neglecting him or FORCING him to climb that tree) rest assured that we love our dog and will take precious care of her. I've learned over these past few weeks that owning a puppy is an experience I never dreamed I'd enjoy. The unconditional love is a bright spot when the rest of the world is in constant demand of your time, attention and wallet. I guess my point is: everything (well probably not EVERYTHING) in moderation. You get my drift. Thanks for reading.



Monday, May 5, 2008

Walking in to "Jackie's party"
Oh, my this is for me???
I'm going to kill you!!

So just when Trey thought his birthday celebrations were all behind him, I was (barely) able to pull off an amazing coup and surprise him with a party celebrating his four decades.

The party itself wasn't the only shock. Many friends and relatives came from near and far and those who couldn't be with us sent their wishes via video. Gotta love this technological age.

This was no small feat considering that he works from home and for the past two months was around ALL THE TIME. He did say I was acting rather peculiar for the past few weeks. He heard me talking in hushed tones and quickly minimizing my computer screen when he passed by. Guys can be so clueless--that trait can come in handy in situations like these. (I mean that "clueless" part in the nicest possible way) I, on the other hand, would have been so suspicious, reading into EVERYTHING and probably been digging through the computer and eavesdropping like crazy.

Here's to the next 40!!


Trey is 40

Monday, April 28, 2008

Trey is the big 4-0 today. That's right he married an "older" woman. A fact he is way too proud of. The kids and I posted these signs all over the general neighborhood for him to view on his way to Starbucks. He said he prefers to spend this day flying under the radar but I think he was a little tickled by the gesture.
I wanted to share something from a funny card he received for those of us who have turned 40 recently or may be on the way to this milestone in the near future.

  • Do you realize that 40 years ago .....Call waiting referred to a line outside of a phone booth
  • A flat screen was something you put in your window to keep the insects out.
  • An airbag was someone who talked too much.
  • SPAM was found only in the kitchen.
  • A cell phone was what you used to make your one call from jail.
  • Guys only got pierced ears from going to a really loud concert.
  • High speed access was an on-ramp to the freeway.

Happy 40th Trey!!

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Millie-Two Weeks Later

Monday, April 14, 2008

We love to pose with our puppy but we're not sure about this responsibility thing

3 months, 1 week and growing rapidly
It's been two weeks since Millie made her way into our home and life has not been the same. As cute as she is, this potty training adventure is beyond frustrating. Toilet training my children definitely doesn't rank up there on my top 10 but at least I had the choice to put a diaper on them. I've been seeking advice online and in books. The common advice is "do not punish or yell at them when they soil in the house. " Yeah, right! So instead I should take her out at 3 a.m., stand in the backyard freezing, wait 10 minutes for her to do her business, watch her lay in the grass and do nothing, bring her back in and smile as she pees on the carpet???? Who wrote these books? Everyone says it will eventually click. I'll just say "it's a good thing she's cute.

In my previous post about Millie joining our family I mentioned all the "I'll nevers" that used to grace my lips prior to being a dog owner. One tidbit I failed to share was that I would frequently tell my husband that I just didn't understand why all my friends would get a dog once their youngest child entered Kindergarten. I mean you're just getting a taste of freedom again and you go and ruin it by adding a puppy to the mix. So here I am 6 months after Ben started school with a dog of my own. You'd think I would learn to keep my mouth shut at some point. Instead I'll just entertain all of my snickering friends by filling up on my share of "crow". I have earned it.