Archive for April 2010

Happy Birthday to my Maverick Man

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Today marks 42 years since my hubby joined this world. All 5 lb. 12 oz. of him. Since he hates to be fussed over and I'm still trying to lay low since the big 40th surprise bash, I will be brief. The following quote I read at this party two years ago and it will always personify him. Happy Birthday, Honey! Love you long time.

"A man is one who finds his strength and lives it.

Who loves his wife and shows it.

Who would die for his children and they believe it.

Who serves his God and no one doubts it."


Spring Break 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

Being that we were just coming off the heels of a dream vacation, we knew this year's Spring Break would never come close to making those kind of memories. However, I knew we had to something. I've had my old/new minivan for two months now and it was begging for a road trip. That and Quinn had a soccer game in Vancouver, Washington.
On Wednesday all three boys and I set out to head from one end of the state to the other. Exit 255 to Exit 7. Knowing that plowing through in one fell swoop would make for a crabby mother and equallyunpleasant children. We broke up the first leg into several little visits along the way. First stop was Grandma's--about two hours away. Exit 143. Our nephew and cousin was on his spring break and my brother stopped in to say hello so we had a house full--which "Ma" loved. Pizza, laughter and noise ensued.

Thursday morning we continued south to Tacoma. Exit 133. My BFF from jr. high and high school is a middle school U.S. History teacher. She has recently inspired me to return to college and get my teaching certificate (this will be the next post). Her spring break had been the previous week so she invited us to come visit her classroom. We stayed for 4th & 5th periods, administered a couple quizzes and watched her in action. Quinn loved "being a student without really being a student", Ian enjoyed sitting alongside Teri and watching for cheaters during the tests and Ben thought it was super grown up and cool to drink Cokes out of her personal fridge while the middle schoolers whined about him not sharing. Just before we went to leave, I turned around to grab my camera and take some pics only to discover one of those middle schoolers had walked off with it. I was disappointed but not half as much as Teri was. She went on the hunt for the thief but returned empty handed. I tried to make light of it by reminding her of all the naughty things we did in 7th and 8th grades but she still felt horrible. I never liked the camera anyway but I was bummed that I wouldn't be able to capture what lay ahead on the rest of our trip. So the pictures that follow were moved from Facebook or other places on my computer. Telling a story involving people just isn't the same without images, is it??

Teri & me hanging out after she stopped by to gloat about her "Devo" concert. Nice hat.

When I visited Teri's classroom a year ago.
Next stop: Vancouver. Exit 7. Last spring I reconnected (via Facebook) with my bible study leader from my junior year of college, ReNai. She was such an inspiration to me and someone who really challenged me in my faith. My favorite memory of her was that she always had her purse-sized bible with her and referred to it all the time. I always wanted to be a woman of deep faith and conviction like her when I grew up. She married her high school sweetheart right after college graduation and they are both teachers in Vancouver. She teaches Kindergarten and he teaches middle school. Is there a theme here???? It was the first time our families had met one another but that didn't matter. Their son is Quinn's age and is wild about sports. Their backyard ended where the elementary school field began. Within minutes the cones and flags were in place and a full-fledged soccer game was taking place. Followed by "bump" on the basketball court and "FIFA soccer" on the Wii. Add ReNai's homemade spaghetti and meatballs and what's not to like? AFter dinner I shared my memory and ReNai broke out that very bible all tattered and torn and well loved. Unfortunately their family was not on spring break so we had to say "goodnight" and "goodbye" that evening. When we left the next day Quinn said, "we should stay here every time we play in Vancouver." I agree, Quinn.
College days: 1989

The lovely Joy family.

Friday: Since we couldn't check in to the hotel until 3, we went just across the bridge into Portland, Oregon. A friend had told me about a decommissioned Navy submarine docked somewhere in the city that was open for tours. I checked it out before we left and found the USS Blueback was at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in the heart of downtown Portland. Although the museum is incredible, we opted to just do the sub tour. We got to see the engine room, the torpedo room, the bunks and dining room. It was absolutely fascinating and worth driving there for. This particular submarine has been docked for 15 years and had been in service for longer than I've been alive. It was also used in the movie "Hunt for Red October" and as a backdrop in "Hawaii Five-O". I"m really dating myself now.
USS Blueback 581

We checked in to the hotel and about 40 of us invaded the Old Spaghetti Factory for Quinn's team dinner followed by "lights out" at 9:30.
Saturday: After the 9:00 a.m. game, we headed back to the hotel, burned some energy at the pool and hit the road for the long trek back. We stopped every hour for bathroom breaks, food and in search of the perfect athletic shoes (never found). Many times I found myself wishing one of my passengers had a learner's permit or that I had lost my hearing. 681 miles later, we arrived safe and sound around dinnertime to one happy puppy and his smiling master.

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Back to School

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Life seems to have gone from o to 100 mph in a matter of weeks and I can't remember if I'm coming or going. All I know is I'm tired. But a good-kind-of-tired.

While on our vacation, it suddenly became apparent to me that I was entering a new season with my kiddos. They shared their own cabin and came and went as they pleased. I began to wonder if they might also be able to live on their own. Although I know this is not reality, the fact that they adapted to this lifestyle with such ease made me wonder if it might be time for some changes in this momma's life.

I have loved and appreciated the privilege of being a full-time mom for the past 13 years. The minute my firstborn was placed in my arms, no job could compete with my intense desire to be home with him. Being that the other two followed in short succession, there wasn't time even ponder going back to work. That, coupled with the fact that we had no family support system around us and I never really had a "career" to speak of , made staying home a "no-brainer." As I've watched my friends juggle work and family I simply found it an area I had no desire to enter into. I never wanted to be faced with the dilemma of what to do when a child was sick or an emergency arose and I had to choose between my work and my family. I was content to keep busy with a myriad of projects and simply managing our home. Until now.

As I had time to think and journal on the two long flights home, a stirring began that wouldn't go away. Over twenty years ago, while a sophomore in college, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I went back to see my middle school English teacher and spent a week observing in her classroom. I left there thinking I would return two years later to student teach under her supervision. When the time came to see an advisor, and declare my major, I learned that secondary education was a five-year program. My parents had only agreed to pay for the 4-year plan, and not a quarter more. My sister was fast on my heels and close to entering college herself. Two college tuitions were not in the cards. As disappointed as I was, I did understand. Not having gone to college themselves, my parents were making a huge sacrifice in giving me a college education with no student loans. I didn't want to burden them anymore so I majored in communications and graduated two years later. I do believe that was the best plan for my life for who I was at the time. However, since my oldest entered middle school, that desire to be in the classroom--other than as a volunteer--has never left me. I had inquired into the process of getting my teaching certificate a couple years ago but the process seemed to arduous if I couldn't do it online. I'm such a whimp!

As soon as we returned home, I called WWU's (Western Washington University) School of Education. The lady I spoke with walked me through the process but told me I was too late for Fall Quarter because of a skills assessment test that had to be completed back in March. She took my student number and promised to get back in touch with me. Didn't happen. A week later I received a call from a gentleman in the department asking for my student number. Huh??? Again, I didn't hear a word for another week and the April 1 deadline was fast approaching.

On March 30, the young man called and spent forever on the phone with me. He was so unbelievably positive and encouraging. He insisted that I wasn't too late for Fall quarter nor for taking the West-B exam that is required for admission. All I had to do was submit a petition with my application asking them to hold its review pending the test scores and take the test on April 17. I promised to come in the next morning and collect all the necessary documents and order my transcript.

March 31st: I couldn't believe how intimidated it felt to walk across campus where I spent four years of my life. I felt so old. But as I stepped on to the cobblestone walkway toward Old Main I decided that everyone would probably just assume I was a professor. Ha! The Registrar's office told me that they typically need two days notice but they could have my transcript ready by 5:00. (Thank you, God.) Next stop: Woodring College of Education where I met my savior, Matt face-to-face. He walked me through the entire application process and sent me on my way. Walking back to my car, was stunned to read the requirements (which would be due TOMORROW) included TWO letters of recommendation and FOUR essays!! Gasp.

It was a no-brainer. I grabbed my phone and texted good ol' Teri Lynn. She's a middle school teacher and my BFF from ages 13-18. The one who talked me into going down this crazy path. "No problem. It will be in your inbox by 4:00. Which email address?" YES!! The second letter was to (preferably) be from a university professor. Being that 20 years had passed since I sat in a college classroom, I was perplexed. "Hello, Matt?? An employer or someone who could vouch for my organizational and communication skills would suffice. I stopped in at the elementary school and saw my most favorite teacher there who I worked with the most on PTA projects and events. She gladly agreed and even offered to print it on school letterhead if I came by the next afternoon. Whew! Nothing like cutting it close.

I stayed up until 1:00 a.m. composing essays that would hopefully convince the "powers that be" to welcome me into their post baccaleaurate teaching program. The next day I started my new job (a later post), went by the school and picked up Allison's glowing letter. After reading it I thought to myself: "Wow, I like me. Who is this person she described?" I then dropped off Ben at Trey's office, drove to campus, picked up my transcript, made a copy and turned in my admissions packet to the university. While waiting for my copy a familiar face walked around the corner: turns out the elementary school PTA President is one of "the" official admissions people. Talk about confirmation and God's favor. She piled on some more encouragement and sent me on my way to the last stop: Woodring. Just as I went through the door, who do I bump into guessed it....... Matt! I reluctantly relinquished my application--I'd become quite attached in the last 24 hours--and wanted to give everyone in the room a big celebratory hug! I guess I can save that for when the acceptance letter arrives!


Come Alive Tour 2010 starring the BFF's

I have wanted to post these pics on here for the last 3 weeks but a million things and continuing my never-ending Disney novel has been preventing me from doing so. My BFF, Lacey, has a childhood friend who moved to Nashville a couple years ago to pursue his dream of playing guitar and writing music alongside some famous Christian artists. Well, lucky for us, Brian's dream was recently realized when he was asked to join the "Come Alive Tour" with Point of Grace and Mark Schultz. In late March they were playing an hour up the road from us in Vancouver and Brian had three VIP tickets and backstage passes waiting for Lacey and two of her friends. I got to be one of those friends!!! We thought we were so very cool. And we were. :) I happen to love both of these artists and seeing them live was an incredible treat. Meeting them backstage was even better. They were so incredibly down-to-earth, about our ages and practically as glamourous. (Ha!!).

They would soooo be friends with us if they lived here--or vice versa.
Our backstage passes
Lacey tries out one of Brian's many guitars.

Mark and his amazing vocals.

Shelly--she was my favorite. Her nickname is Boss Hogg. Loved her.


Day 9: Homeward Bound

Monday, April 5, 2010

All good things must come to an end. Today was that day. Papa Jim dropped us off at Universal for one last hurrah and we went back to ride as many rides as possible in four hours. Everyone went to their favorites and we all met back at this globe. We unanimously agreed to grab Chick-fil-A, go back to the condo and pack then head to the airport. Sniff. Sniff.

What a once-in-a-lifetime experience this was. I never thought we'd have an opportunity to ever take this kind of vacation and I still can't comprehend all we packed in over 9 short days. I still can't believe we really did it. These few pictures only capture half the fun, excitement and memories we will always treasure. Thank you, Mimi and Papa Jim!!

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Day 8: Sea World & Aquatica

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I just realized that we've been home for almost two weeks now and I'm still writing about our trip. I know I've been dragging this out for a while now and I apologize. I have wanted to devote enough time to capturing the many details and finding the best photos of the highlights. Then, two days ago, Mimi's photo CD arrived and I was so tempted to add them but knew I would drag this on another week.This was our next-to-the-last day in Orlando and we devoted most of it to Sea World and one short hour to the water park across the street.

Some of you may be familiar with the recent story of the Orca whale trainer who was killed by one of her subjects, Tillikum. The tragedy occurred at this particular park--and not too long ago. Our first stop was the Orca Whale show. Before any of the trainers came onto stage, they showed a short video dedicating the show to Dawn Brancheau. It was very moving. And although they did not make mention of it, the trainers don't get into the water with the whales any longer. It still was amazing what they have trained these enormous creatures to do.

Later in the day we took a shuttle down the road to Aquatica which is one of two water parks. We made the assumption their operating hours would be the same as Sea World but we arrived at 5:00 only to find that closing time was at 6:00. It didn't matter to the boys. They took off running and got in every last slide they could in spite of the wind and a high temperature of 71 degrees. Ben was thrilled to learn he met every single height requirement. As we exited the park his last words were, "this is my favorite place of all."