Monday, December 31, 2007

A Few Cards...

I made a few cards recently.....Some don't scan well if they have embellishments that stick out....I guess I have a little blue mark on my scanner - I need to clean that off! :)



This one says: Wishing You the Best of Birthdays


This one is making use of some awesome, bird-themed stickers I bought. I found some metal hardware to frame this nest sticker, and punched out some tiny letters....The little bird footprints are part of a clear stamp set...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Blog Colors

I changed my blog colors, since the other ones were so Christmasy. I almost hated doing it, because it means Christmas is over. I hate taking down decorations, too. I try to leave them up as long as possible. The Christmas decorations are still up in my house. I got a fake tree, so I could put one up right after Thanksgiving, and leave it up after New Year's.

I also leave birthday decorations up for awhile, too. Crepe paper, balloons, etc. It stays up until my husband starts asking about taking them down....

I also don't put away my suitcase after a vacation. It stays there, with stuff in it-until, once again, my husband starts asking when I'm going to put it away.

I think he's used to me now, and patiently allows a certain window of time for leaving stuff out.

I guess I just want to hold on to the happy moments - the experiences, and not admit they're over......

"Sincere"

I have to share something new I learned last night at church. Our pastor was gone, and one of our other pastors, Yoel, shared a great message. (We are very blessed to have awesome speakers who can fill in when our main pastor is gone). Yoel was talking about how the Holy Spirit empowers us to live for God. And, one way He does that is empowers us to be "sincere." This is one of the verses shared with that bullet point:

"And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God." Phil. 1:9-11 (NKJV).

The word "sincere" was emphasized by Yoel, and this is what he explained about the word. The word literally means "judged by light." It is a term used in making pottery. In those days, if an artist created a pot or a jar, after it was fired, they would hold it up to the light to see if there were any cracks in it. If it was "insincere," meaning it had cracks, the potter would throw it out. However, there were some potters, who, after holding it up to the light and found cracks, would use a dishonest method. They would fill the cracks with beeswax, paint over it and sell it. The unsuspecting buyer would take it home, fill it with a liquid and realized it leaked or even broke.

You see, we are pots or jars. We may have cracks in our character that need inspection. And either we expose ourselves, or God will expose us. It is a lack of sincerity to not live out what we know. In order to be found sincere, we must:

1. Allow the Word of God to inspect our souls. (Be in the Word daily, in order to experience change).
2. Do not cover cracks with wax, but repent and let Him heal. (Praise God, he doesn't throw us out, but rather, forgives and heals us!)
3. Humble yourself and believe what God says about you. (Look to His Word for who we are).
4. Be patient. (Not our favorite thing to do!)

Yoel wrapped up his message with Micah 6:8, reminding us that it is God who gives us the strength, courage and ability to do right, love mercy and to walk humbly with God. I'm so glad I am empowered by the Holy Spirit to walk with the Lord, and I don't have to depend on myself or anyone else. He's going to help me by showing me those cracks, no matter how much I'd like them not to be exposed. Plus, He won't toss me in the trash, but heal me. Then, empower me to walk with Him. What a good word!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Afterglow....

From the looks of the other blogs I read, there's not a lot being written - especially me! I've been trying not to be on the computer that much, with my family home. All of us are on vacation from work and school, so it's been nice chillin' with everybody. The other day, we went to a museum, which was a nice change, and it got us out of the house. My son has wanted lots of cuddling and game-playing. We've been playing Battleship and Aggravation. I have also built some Lego creations with him. We've watched some family movies like Evan Almighty and Hairspray. The girls got to spend some time with friends in the last couple of days, too.

Yesterday, I started getting the "it's almost time to get back into a routine" organization bug. I went through Ben's room, my desk, the office desk, etc. and got rid of a bunch of junk. I made out our family "week at a glance" calendar for the fridge, so we could all get an idea of what our schedules are going to be. It kind of makes me feel better to know we'll be organized in the house when we all start work and school again.

We had a pretty great Christmas overall. I hope you all did too! Melanie got a pink Fender guitar from us, and Amanda got a digital camera for their main gifts. Ben got a Mongoose bike. Then, they each received other, smaller items. Ben got some more Bionicles, Legos and GI Joe's. The girls got clothes they like. I got some jammies, more cups that fit under my espresso machine and the stripey socks I like. I got Joe a cool shirt and three CD's: Colbie Callae (sp?), Kirk Franklin and another Christian one I can't remember (it has a heavy metal, rock sound). I tried to get him a variety of music to try on the new stereo.....

I've been a little pensive since yesterday, thinking about my family and my relationship with God. Maybe I'll write more about that later.....

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas in the Northwest.....

Yesterday, we arrived home after spending one night at my mom's house. It's about a 2.5 hour drive to get there, and a beautiful one. We think we saw a seal swimming next to the bridge, and we saw a bald eagle, too. The Puget Sound region is beautiful, especially now, with the Cascades dusted with snow.

We got to see my grandfather who is almost 93! We had four generations sitting around the table eating homemade chicken and noodles. Mmmmmm. My mom made three kinds of pies, and we brought some Christmas cookies. My grandfather talked about his younger days of learning the plumbing business, first working in Seattle, and then starting his own plumbing store/business in Port Angeles, which operated for 23 years. Since his stroke, he has a little bit of speech difficulty, but it certainly doesn't stop him from sharing, which I'm glad. As we were eating, he stopped, and said emphatically, "We are truly blessed." Then, my mom stopped and said how wonderful it is that we came and we were spending time together.....Nice moment. What I wanted this year....

Then, we opened a few presents, talked some more and watched several episodes of "The Office." HAHA! That show is genius. The next morning, we stayed in our pajamas until 11:00, has an egg and bacon breakfast, and talked some more....

Today, my own little family is going out to dinner to the Cheesecake Factory. I haven't eaten there before, so I am looking forward to it. I didn't even know they served anything but cheesecake! :) Then, we are going to a Living Nativity. I am so excited about that. It will be another first for me. I think that it's a good opportunity to turn out hearts and minds toward the Lord, and all that He has done for us, with the sending of his son Jesus. Tomorrow, we will attending Christmas Eve candlelight service and continue this time of reflection and celebration. It's truly the best part for me.

I regret that we didn't take pictures of my grandfather during our visit, but these are some pics of our trip to my mom's house....



From left to right: my brother, Melanie, Amanda and my mom



My 13-year-old brother in the new sweatshirt we got him...




Melanie and Joe (my brother), who look more like siblings...



My Joe dozing on the chair....HAHA!!



Ben and I....



Ben wanted to open presents SO badly! We decided to draw names as to the order, and Ben ended up being LAST! HAHA!!



Joe with my mom's husband in the background...They're not very photogenic apparently...HAHA!! :)



Ben received a Lego Bionicle, which he put together with great focus......Notice the train that encircles the Christmas tree. My mom's husband is a big train enthusiast.....By the way, the house was previously owned by my grandparents. My mom grew up there, and purchased the home after my grandmother died. I have many childhood memories of waking up there on Christmas morning, and peeking down (the bedrooms are upstairs), to see what was under the tree....Then, my grandfather would make us all eggs fried in bacon grease, bacon, oatmeal and my grandmother's homemade bread with homemade freezer jam. The best breakfast you ever had....

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Presents!

I have presents under the tree now! I'm so excited.

Are you getting excited for Christmas?!?!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ben's Class

I helped in Ben's classroom yesterday. I was so glad to get a chance to come in, because I know it means so much to Ben. First grade is quite different from the first grade I remember! It is quite academic, and those kids were working hard from the morning until I left at lunchtime. She had such control of the classroom, and those kids were amazing at staying on task. She is a very business-like teacher, but would always give an encouraging word to each and every child.

I corrected and filed papers, as well as cut out some crowns from construction paper. I just sort of tuned my ears to what was going on in the class while I performed the busy work. I got a kick out of calendar time, when the teacher got out a puppet and used a funny voice.

At lunchtime, I took a chair to sit next to Ben. I swear, I had three children talking to me at once the entire time. They wanted to tell me all sorts of things - it was hilarious! I heard about how tall their parents are, about their brothers and sisters, how many presents are under their tree, that their hot lunch looked like poop (it really did!!), about a girl's braces (yes, braces in first grade), etc, etc! The more I would validate them, the more they wanted to tell me things. SO FUNNY! And then, at the end, they kept saying "Good-bye, Mrs. _____!"

That was fun.

New Stereo

My husband wanted to by a new stereo for a "joint gift" this Christmas. I bought a Bose stereo online and we received it yesterday. It's cool, because our old one didn't play CD's anymore, and we finally bought a quality stereo (even if it is the bottom of the line one). I'm just not a huge technology girl. I don't have to have the latest and greatest. I would have been happy with another Wal-Mart cheapo stereo, but my husband really wanted it, and I thought he should have something quality to enjoy. Enjoy the "fruit of his labor" and all that.......

The thing is-I hate "joint gifts." Dang it - I want presents to open!! I like feeling like a little kid on Christmas morning, being all excited to open presents. My husband said not to get him anything, and he would get me a couple of little things. Whenever my husband says this, I do what he says, and he ends up spending more on me than just "little things." We'll see what happens. I bought him a CD, which seems appropriate to go with the stereo. I think I need to get him a couple more things, because it's pretty lame to see a lone, little CD for him under the tree.

I have nothing under the tree, as of today.

I was a little mad at the stereo yesterday, but today, I put in my West Side Story CD and blasted it through the house. That silly CD brings tears to my eyes, I love that music so much! Maybe I like the stereo, but I still want some presents....

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Good Lookin' Kids

Now, aren't these some good-lookin' kids? These pics were taken the other day to send out with our Christmas letter. Yes, I write one of those annoying Christmas letters every year. I can't help it. I personally enjoy receiving them, thank you very much......It's the highlight of my every day in December - to find cards and pics in the mailbox. Then, we put up all of the pictures we receive on the fridge for a couple of months. I like walking by and thinking of the families, and the memories associated with them...








I had a hard time getting my kids to give me smiles instead of goofy faces. Here they are making "Surprise Snowballs." They're a simple dough cookie with surprises inside, like jelly beans and M 'n M's.....Ben even tried getting four jelly beans in one!












This is how I found Ben asleep on his bed, after all the festivities. What a loved bear, huh?

Monday, December 17, 2007

My Thought On the Election

I follow politics only a little. I am not a complete political illiterate, but I am certainly not qualified to get into any debates. I do know this. I swear, if Hillary Clinton is somehow, some way, elected as President of the United States, I will not turn on my TV for four years. I could hardly listen to her husband on TV, much less her!! I simply can't fathom that woman as president. The thought disgusts me.

My Shnoz

I was shopping today, and thinking about what a sensitive shnoz I have. I mean, I have a very sensitive smeller. There are things in this world that I can smell, that other people probably don't. And, there are things in this world that I wish I couldn't smell. Here are some:

1. People's dirty hair.
2. Dirty, nicotine-laden coat.
3. Asian food breath.
4. Sweaty feet in flip-flops.
5. Morning stink.
6. Rave hairspray
7. Cheap shaving cream
8. Old, wet, leather boots.
9. Elementary school right after lunch was served.
10. Motel carpet.

There are some wonderful smells, though. These are some of my fav's:

1. Pavement immediately after it starts raining.
2. A house after someone cooked with garlic.
3. Freshly cut pine lumber.
4. Lavender growing fresh outside.
5. Apple Jolly Rancher
6. Antique wooden furniture.
7. Drakkar cologne.
8. The smell of dirt when pulling weeds.
9. A leather Bible.
10. Presents my grandmother sent me in the mail.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ho Ho Ho

Well, I'm on my Christmas break from school, and guess what happens-I get sick. Great. I was at Wal-Mart re-stocking my empty cupboards, when I started going downhill. I got up to the checkout counter and one of my milk cartons was leaking. The gal wanted me to go back and get a new one, and I said I was really feeling crappy, so I wasn't going to. She asked me if I wanted help out, and I waited on a bench for a very long time. She finally closed up her register, slapped on her jacket, and helped me out herself, she felt so bad for me. Wow. Good customer service at Wal-Mart. That's a first.

Anyway, I'm going to have to do some quick catching up on things after laying low for a couple of days. Today, the kids and I are going to make Christmas cookies. Then, maybe I can have those friends over this next week for cookies and lattes. Oh-the cookies. I have this beautiful, cookie cookbook by Better Homes and Gardens. On one side are gorgeous, anytime cookies. Then, you flip the book over, and find Christmas cookies. I asked Ben to pick out what he would like to make, and he picked some Santa ones.....I should take some pictures today....

I have a lot of presents wrapped under the tree, but I still need to get a few more for the girls. It's getting a little harder to shop for them nowadays. As I perused the toy aisles a couple of weeks ago, I was thinking about how fun it was to buy them Barbies and Polly Pockets. Now they want CD's and specific clothing styles from particular stores. They also ask for things like guitars and digital cameras. That's just no fun. I want to buy toys!

Well, we still have one kid left who still likes toys. What a blast to buy boy stuff. I didn't grow up with a brother, and he's my only boy, so this is all new to me. He's at such a great age to want to play with most of the types of toys they make now, so it's pretty fun shopping. He likes Legos, and action figure guys and balls and cars. I have to be careful not to buy too much, with his birthday right around the corner in January!

I'm disappointed, that I wasn't well enough to take them down to have a free carriage ride with Santa at this cool furniture store. This store does seasonal things for kids every year. Maybe next weekend...I also want to take the kids to see a drive-thru light display at a huge park near our home. It's something we do every year.

But, my most favorite, favorite thing of all is going to a Christmas Eve church service. Our church had a special Christmas production last night, but they're still going to do a Christmas Eve candlelight service for families. I just find that there is something magical about going to church at night on Christmas Eve. It's such a wonderful time to reflect on the gift of Jesus with my family right before we open up gifts the next morning. It sets such a wonderful, meaningful tone to the following day.

We do something very silly on Christmas Eve. We open our stockings. This started before we had kids. We were dying to open something, so we opened our stockings. Now, we still do it.

I gotta go. I feel like I need to redeem some time that I lost being sick. I still need to get our Christmas cards out!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Got My Grades!

I got my official Fall Quarter grades this morning! I got a 4.0 out of Anatomy and Physiology Lecture, and a 4.0 out of the Lab. I got a 3.3 (B+) out of Physics, which is way better than I ever thought I would end up, but for the record, I think I deserve an A-.

Anyway, YAY FOR ME! I'm so proud of myself. I worked dang hard.

Friday, December 7, 2007

WOOHOO!!

I am so proud of myself!! As of 11:00 this morning, I have completed all of my final exams! I have worked extremely hard, and here's one of my rewards:



This is the top portion of my lab practical that I picked up this morning. YES!! My professor said that I was one of 3 who got 100%!!! Then, he said that I have a 108% out of Anatomy and Physiology Lab!!! Now, that's what I call a payoff.

This morning I took my A&P lecture exam. It was tough, but I think I did pretty well. As of the other day, I had a 97% out of the class, but that was before a quiz and the final exam. I'll have to wait until Monday for my final grade.

Last night, was the Physics test. That class was pure torture all the way, so boy, did it feel good to finish it!!! I even pleaded my case with the professor about the overall grade I thought I deserved. I won't go into too much boring detail, but I have spent so many hours travelling back and forth to get help (during the professor's very limited office hours) to complete assignments in that class. I applied for a tutor the very first week, and never got one. I would also come an hour early to every class for minimum help, since other students were there also. It was miserable to say the least.

I have literally spent almost every waking hour studying for the past three months. My family is going to be so glad to have me back! I can't wait to BE back!! Gotta go. My husband and I are going out for brunch - what an incredible thought!! Yippee!!!

Oh, and by the way, ALL credit to God for helping me through this with success! "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!"

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Real Quick

OK. Real quick. Every day except Tuesday this week I've had a test. I nailed my lab practical today. YES! Tomorrow is my last Physics exam. Not super high hopes there. Then, Friday is my big A&P final! I think I will do well. I try not to have too much confidence - just study my butt off and trust God for the rest. Then, thank Him for the good grades. :)

Amanda is driving now! She went on her first solo drive this morning to her "devos" group at Starbucks. The Lord's going to be hearing lots of quickie prayers from me every time she goes out the door.

Melanie is at her first gymnastics meet tonight. Her dad went to see her. She is doing a beam routine. With Ben in AWANA on the same night as her meets, Joe and I are going to tag team it if it's an away meet (like tonight). I'm kind of sad to miss the first one, though. :(

Ben is going to be tested for the "highly capable" program in our school district. His teacher wanted me to apply. If accepted, he will be bussed one day a week to a special enrichment program. He is reading incredibly well, and is progressing rapidly. It's interesting to see. He grasps things so fast. That kid can memorize verses so quick, it's incredible. He is zipping through his AWANA book.

I hope it doesn't sound like I'm a bragging parent. I just truly marvel at my kids' accomplishments. It's cool to be a mom and see these people that came out of you, and now they can do all of these things you never did, and become things you never will. Too amazing.

Anyway, I can't WAIT for Friday!!! I am already planning the friends I get to invite for a latte.....

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Milk

I had something happen yesterday that I was especially brokenhearted about. I just couldn't stop crying about it. My son hugged me at one point. My girls hugged me at other points. My husband hugged me too. My son said that if I drink milk when I'm sad it will help me forget about it. He said that when he was sad on a Monday, he kept drinking milk and on Saturday, he just forgot all about it.

I wonder if he made this up on the fly to come up with a way to make me feel better. Or, I also wonder if he chose milk because he was my longest breastfed baby. HAHA! :)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

More Ben Cuteness

I was just chillin' with my latte and watching a guy catch a fish in a river on TV. Ben was sitting with me, and I said "Doesn't that look so fun to be standing on the river fishing?" He said "Yeah." A couple of seconds later, he said "Wouldn't it be cool if the TV was a portal, and if you saw somewhere you wanted to go, you could just jump in?" I said, "Yeah!" Then, he proceeded to pretend to jump into the fishing show, so I pretended it was him who was catching a fish just then. "Look! Ben got one!" I said. Then, he had to jump back home, so he said, "Pretend you don't see me, K?" And he jumped back home with a whooshing sound (had to have the sound effects, right?)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Ben's Plans and Thoughts

The other day, Ben said that he has a plan for when he is a Dad. He says that everyday at 4:00, he is going to take his children to the park.

He also wonders why there are earthquakes, and what happens to make them.

He also wants to know why the people on the other side of the Earth aren't upside-down.

And, why doesn't the Earth ever turn (rotate) the other way?

How does Santa get in if all the windows and doors are locked? (We don't have a fireplace).

If we're out shopping together, and I see something I want to buy for him, I can just buy it, and he will pretend it is a surprise when he opens it on Christmas.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Should

Sometimes I spend time on my blog when I "should" be doing other things. Why do I do that to myself? "Should" on myself. HAHA. I just made that up, and it sounds really funny. "Should" on myself. If you put in another word instead of "should," I think it would mean the same thing, don't you think?

Anyway, I should be studying, especially since our lab was cancelled today, and it gives me an extra two hours. Eh.

I do have to mention that last night, I got a lot of shopping done. Both at the store, and online. I'm so happy. I feel like I have made some good Christmas progress, and it's not even December yet. I even got in on some free shipping deals. Cool! I even spent some time with the kids, and played a game with my son. :)

When I was out shopping, I saw an old friend from my old church. She wasn't super chatty, but seemed more like she was trying to act interested. Oh well. I felt like I was appearing quite unfriendly, because I have been having a lot of TMJ (jaw) problems, and was actually trying to save my jaw by not smiling too much. I felt so bad, I apologized and explained why I wasn't trying to be smiley. My pain was so bad this weekend. No matter what I did, I couldn't get on top of the pain. I just had to wait it out for three days. One night it was keeping me awake. I think I'm going to need to do something about this in the near future. I'll probably have to get braces or something. I already get enough comments about how young I look, and this is going to make it ten times worse......I'm starting to get wrinkles around my eyes now, though, so maybe the braces will bring the attention off of that. :) HAHA!

See ya. Gotta stop "wasting" time. Go have some fun while I'm "shoulding" on myself. :)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

How Much is Your Dead Body Worth?

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Homestretch

I have some tests coming up in the homestretch of Fall Quarter. I have an A&P test on Tuesday, which I have been studying hard for this weekend. For some reason, it's hard for me to implant this particular stuff in my head. It's about the nervous system. On December 5th, I have a big lab practical (my last one). I am supposed to know all of the muscles, anatomy of the spinal cord, brain, eye and ear. It's A LOT. I've been working on it for awhile now, but I'm not ready for a test yet. And, of course, there is Physics. One more test in that. I just took one last Tuesday before the Thanksgiving "break." It was terrible. Everyone in the class thought so. This is the dumbest, most frustrating class ever. You can spend HOURS and HOURS working problems out, studying, and then you get to the tests and feel like it was all for nothing. I HATE it.

I also HATE that I have to spend all this time studying, and miss my kids. If I had known what these classes were going to be like, I never would have taken both of them together. Last night, I cried to my son about it, who just hugged me and patted me on the back, telling me it's OK.....It's not OK, but thanks, Ben.

Today, I'm going to get out of the house for a little bit with the kids. We're going to go get some Christmas gifts for my sister's kids. This year, we're continuing something we tried last year, and that is drawing names for the adults on my side of the family, and everyone buying for all the kids. I think I would like to just buy for the kids next year. It just gets to be too much, you know? We don't buy for anyone on Joe's side of the family, and this year, his parents asked that we don't exchange gifts with them. Okey dokey!

I wish I could do ALL of my shopping online. I pretty much did that last year. I had almost everything done before December 1st. It was awesome. If I did it right, I would hit a website on the day they were offering free shipping. I hate shopping at the stores. However, I do like stocking-stuffer shopping. It's way fun. I get these little, separate piles going in my cart. One for each kid. And, I keep looking for all the fun, little things I can find.

Joe didn't grow up getting trinkets in his stockings. Do you know what he got? Fruit and nuts, with maybe a candy bar thrown in. He would wake up to it hanging on his bedpost. HAHA!! That just cracks me up. What kid wants fruit and old walnuts in their stocking? I think he liked it when we got married, and I put little gifts in his stocking.......I made all of our stockings. Once I dig them out of our Christmas boxes, I'll take a picture of them.

This year, our kids are each getting one main gift, and some smaller ones to go with it, so they have some more things to open. It just happened that way this year. Joe wants to purchase a stereo for the "gift exchange" between us. Actually, I would rather have some things to open, but hey-he wants a stereo.

Frankly, all I can look forward to at the moment is the first week of December, when Fall Quarter is OVER!!! I'm going to go help in Ben's classroom, make cards, light candles, hang out in my house, make Christmas cookies, drink cocoa, cook, clean, wrap presents, write our Christmas letter, call friends, put pictures in the frames I painted in August, visit my favorite paper store, invite people over for a latte.....Oh, the possibilities.....

Saturday, November 24, 2007

What Should You Be When You Grow Up

You Should Be an Artist

You are incredibly creative, spontaneous, and unique.
No one can guess what you're going to do next, but it's usually something amazing.
You can't deal with routine, rules, or structure. You're easily bored.
As long as you are able to innovate and break the rules, you are extremely successful.

You do best when you:

- Can work by yourself
- Can express your personality in your work

You would also be a good journalist or actor.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Let's See..How Honest Should I Be....

I have something to say that I did a good job of not admitting to anyone last night, in case I "ruined" anything for anyone (because I probably would have cried).

This was the worst Thanksgiving I have ever had.

There.

We went to our movie, which was fun. That was fine. We saw Bee Movie. Then, we went over to Old Country Buffet. We waited for quite awhile, which is what I expected (maybe an hour?). But, I had never been to OCB before. I am not trying to be rude when I say this, but if we were wanting to go to a soup kitchen, redneck convention and a nursing home at the same time, we would have visited OCB. There's just no other way to describe the scene.

Once we got our table, we sat next to this family who had probably picked up their grandparents from the nursing home (which is a sweet thought), and were feeding them in their wheelchairs. We got our food from the buffet, and finally sat down. Then, the elderly woman started making these gutteral, phlegm-produced, growling-gurling sounds. Loudly. I tried to ignore it, but my family couldn't. I got sick to my stomach and could barely eat. My family was trying to contain their laughter, which was quite embarassing. My husband almost choked on his turkey.

Finally, the family left. I tried to get the woman's noises out of my head, but it was difficult. My appetite was gone. I then tried to stay positive and get my son stuff to eat and drink. But, then I kept seeing dirty people in their sweatpants (dressed for the big meal, I guess) filing in, and the condition of the restaurant, I couldn't hold it together anymore. I could feel my body stiffening, and I was trying to not touch too many parts of my body on anything (like the dirty handle of the chocolate milk dispenser), thinking about the hundreds of people cycling through there. I had previously told my son a lot about how you can dispense soft serve ice cream, so of course I had to get him some. He wanted to do it himself, which grossed me out, because everything at the ice cream center was sticky and messy. At the sprinkles station, there were dirty spoons in a couple of the containers, and when I touched one, it was sticky. EEEEwwwwwww......I tried to check out the desserts for myself at that point, and just didn't have the stomach for it anymore.

I got back to the table, and my husband sensed my waning enthusiasm. I just shook my head, because at that point, I would have cried. I told him I should have stayed home and cooked. He said it was just fine. Well, no it wasn't. How lame is it that we were not invited to anyone's home, and it's been this way for several years? How lame is it that every time I try to open my home on Thanksgiving to people who need somewhere to go, it never works out? How lame that we're sitting in a filthy restaurant with dirty people getting grossed out and wanting to leave? Knowing that I have to be responsible for making things memorable for my little family, why did I waste this year doing this? Why did we ever move away from the closest thing we had to family in San Diego? Well, now I was getting on a sad roll as you can tell........

My husband asked if I was going to get dessert. I said, "not really." So, he asked if I wanted to leave. I nodded. And, we left. We got home and the kids wanted to play a game. My husband, who never plays games, actually joined. I think he was possibly trying to redeem the day. We tried Cranium, but it was too hard for my son, so we switched to a lower level Cranium game called "Cadoo." Apparently, it was the right level for my husband. hee hee :) Just kidding. He didn't do so hot. At the end of our second game, our son burst into tears because he had to be timed to answer a question, and it frustrated him. The game time was over.

After that, we watched TV for the rest of the day.

Yay.

I think I'll go cry now.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Where Do You Belong?

You Belong in Paris

Stylish and expressive, you were meant for Paris.
The art, the fashion, the wine!
Whether you're enjoying the cafe life or a beautiful park...
You'll love living in the most chic place on earth.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving Plans

It's been interesting to talk with people about their Thanksgiving plans. This one gal I spoke with is hanging out with family outdoors in tents, smoking their turkeys and drinking beers. Another guy said they deep fry their turkey. Another soaks their turkey in brine overnight and cooks it.

Us?

We're going to Old Country Buffet, baby!! We've talked about it in the past, and this year we're doin' it. I hope there's not a long wait, but I don't care. If I was cooking, I would have sore feet from walking/standing in my kitchen for hours. And, I'm sure we won't be waiting THAT long. The only thing I will probably miss is the leftovers we eat off of for the next few days after Thanksgiving. It's kind of fun, and the food always tastes so good the second and third time around.

It is our tradition to see a movie as a family, too, so we're going to see "Bee Movie." I'm looking forward to being with my husband and my kids after all of this hard work since school started. We need this.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Good Blog

As you probably have seen, I include a link to the yet-to-be-published book "Mad Church Disease." This book is being written by Anne Jackson. I found her blog (see "Flower Dust"link below), and I wanted to mention it, as something cool to check out. She is an awesome, hip, Christian writer, who is honest and cutting edge. She talks about church, women's sexuality and her colorful past. I highly recommend reading her stuff.....

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Some things I didn't have time to mention before...

Yeah. So, here's a few:

1. Ben was dared to cut his hair with his scissors at school. He did it. He cut a hunk out of the very front. And, I never even noticed. I had seen Ben when he got home from school, and for a few hours before I went to class, but I never noticed it. Joe had him confess to me when I got home from class that night. Apparently, Joe noticed it and Ben initially lied to him about it. Then, he fessed up and Joe made him tell me when I got home. It was hard not to laugh.

2. A couple of weeks ago, I was the first car to arrive on the scene of an accident. The two cars involved were sitting in the middling of the road. As I attempted to squeeze by, I rolled down my window to ask the gal inside if she was OK, and if she had called 911 yet. She was upset, and I noticed her two little ones in the backseat crying. Once I saw her kids, I had no choice. I had to stop. I pulled over to a safe spot, and ran back to the mom. I called 911 and helped her get her kids out and went to the side of the road. She borrowed my phone to call a friend, and I waited with her until help came. It felt good to help.

3. I got a 98 on my first lab practical. I only missed one!! I won't mention what I got on my last Physics test. Let's just say the teacher lets us throw out a test with lowest score, and that one's the one. Somehow, I still have a B in the class. That means I must do well on the next two tests. We'll see about that.

4. The play "To Kill A Mockingbird" was great. The artistic interpretation of the set design was fabulous. Most of the actors were superb. A couple of the children did not project well, so that was annoying. Overall, I thought that the pace of the play was too fast. I realize it is important to keep up the pace so things don't drag, but there were certain meaningful and dramatic parts that were lost, due to the pace. That was somewhat disappointing to me. But, it was fun to get out to a play and be downtown. It looks like that theater will be showing "The Diary of Anne Frank" next year, so we will go see that, for sure.....

5. Did I ever mention that I never finished reading my Bible in 90 days? Nope. Wanted to, but didn't. I almost got through the Old Testament, though. Maybe next summer, I'll just start where I left off before.

6. Melanie started gymnastics last week. She's been exhausted, but is enjoying it.

7. Amanda will be testing soon to get her license. With the extra practice, she is driving very well now. We need to teach her to parallel park in the truck, and then she can do the test. We're letting her test in the truck because it's automatic. After that, the stick is what she will mostly drive. She's been getting spoiled driving the truck, but we thought it was best for her to gain confidence in that first. Did I ever mention that I can't WAIT for her to drive?!?! I am so SICK of driving kids places, it's not even funny. Joe and I will sometimes leave at the same time - one person picks up one kid, and the other person picks up the other. It's INSANE. So, I can't WAIT until I can send Amanda to pick up Melanie, or she can drive herSELF. Oh HAPPY DAY!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Yesssssssss!!

Got my A&P test back today. 94% BABY!! I was one of 8 A's out of the whole class!! I went into that thing studied up and prayed up, so I give credit to God for helping me recall everything I needed to. He was so with me - I could feel it strong during the test. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!"

Saturday, November 3, 2007

I See Dead People....

This morning, I went over to another community college for a "Cadaver Lab" in association with my Anatomy and Physiology class. There were four students and the teacher during our time slot. We donned our gloves, and were asked to unwrap the shroud from the body, as well as pull the skin (already cut) back. As we were shown various parts, focusing on muscles, we were able to feel the different tissues. The cadaver was female, and her face was covered with an orange plastic covering. It sort of shaded her face, but you could still look closely and make out her facial features. She even had painted fingernails!

I was excited to see the cadaver, but got a slight twinge of nervousness, as we lifted back the shroud. The only thing that bothered me was the odor. When we first lifted off the shroud, the smell of formaldehyde was quite strong. I tried to not think about it too much, but it was so strong, I could have possibly gagged. I talked myself out of that, and continued enjoying the observation. It really was a cool experience. We noticed that her lungs didn't look so hot. Perhaps she was a smoker, or maybe a coal miner? I also noticed some spots on her chest that definitely looked like skin cancer.

Did you know that a lab can keep a body for up to 15 years? Pretty cool to think that, if you donate your body to science, it would get a lot of use and be viewed by so many people! In medical school, each student apparently, will get their own cadaver, and slowly dissect it over the course of a year. In that case, there would practically be nothing left, so you couldn't use it much more. Sometimes, though, they will take a limb with a certain group of muscles, and "plasticize" it, so it can be used as a permanent model.

After seeing the cadaver, I went to my favorite paper store for some "paper therapy," after all this studying and test-taking. I really needed that. I wish I could say I have time to make something, but I don't. I'm looking forward to a month-long break starting in December.....

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Fall Madness (I mean, Fun)



Concert pics are so hard to get with the poor lighting, but the girl on the left is our Melanie at her junior high Fall Concert last week. She plays the violin!



Amanda also had a Fall Concert at her high school. She played a solo part for one of the pieces the orchestra played. If I can figure out how to upload videos, I'll post her solo. She also performed her first concert for the youth symphony a couple of weeks ago. It was a costume concert, and they played all movie music! SO cool.



Ben was so eager to carve his pumpkin this year! Here he is scooping out the guts (which didn't smell very good, by the way). I think this pumpkin was on it's way to being rotten.



This Halloween happened to be AWANA night, and they had a carnival-type party I took Benny to. He wore the costume pictured below. The carnival was such fun for Ben. I had signed up to bring a cake for the "cake walk," so Ben had asked me questions about what a cake walk is. So, the moment they announced each cake walk, Ben would leave whatever he was doing and run in there. He DID end up winning a box of cupcakes! Yay! He also played several games, one of which was the "fishing game," where the kids casts their line over a curtain and wait for the "fish" to tug on their line. I encouraged the fun of the game by shouting "Do you feel the fish biting? OH! You GOT one! Quick! Reel It in! Reel it in!" The look of determination on his face was priceless. He kept coming back to it over and over again, until finally he asked "How does it do that?" SO cute. Ben asked me to guess what his favorite thing was. Was it the fishing game? No, he said his favorite thing was painting his pumpkin. He took a very long time to paint this thing. Entirely brown. It had a face, but it a brown face. Still not sure why. He was so proud of it, he brought it in this morning to eat breakfast with him, while he rubbed it and said what a great pumpkin it is. Anyway, the party ended last night with a costume parade with prizes to a boy and a girl in each age group.



LUKE, I AM YOUR FATHER......



Is that you, Ben?

Seven Things

OK. I just got home from taking my big A&P test (I nailed it - thank you very much!), so NOW I can do my "Seven Things."

1. I love watching "House on the Prairie." I can't believe it is still on TV, and if it happens to be on, I am glued. I love to hate Nellie Olson, love to watch Charles sensitive fathering and love the meaningful storylines. I also love, love, LOVE "Bonanza."

2. My maternal grandfather's family lineage can be traced back to the pioneer families of the Mormon church (I have seen the family's name in the actual Mormon history books). This grandfather is still considered a "Jack Mormon." My paternal grandparents were Christian Scientists. With this background, I praise God that He took me by the hand and led me to the TRUTH.

3. I once choked on a Gobstopper when I was 13, as my father had just left the house (I would have been home alone). He happened to come back, and performed the Heimlich on me. I learned that you should never drink milk with a Gobstopper in your mouth.

4. I have given birth the regular way (my oldest) and via C-section. The reason I had a C-section with my middle child, was because she was footling breech. In fact, her little foot was in my (ahem) birth canal wiggling around! With our son, the doctors wouldn't let me have him the regular way, so we scheduled his C-section delivery.

5. Speaking of babies, when my girls were 10 months and 3 years, my mom gave birth to my brother. I got to be in the delivery room, and even held one of my mom's legs as she pushed him out. His head acted like a cork for the amniotic fluid, so once his head popped out, it squirted all over my sister (who held the other leg). Somehow, my third sister got a picture of it - you can see the fluid squirting out in middair!

6. In jr. high, I was at a friend's huge slumber party (I think it was Halloween). We were making prank phone calls, and at one point, we were laughing so hard, I started peeing my pants! It started to come out a little, when I looked up at my other friend and noticed that she had a big puddle going on the floor. So, we turned and started racing each other to the bathroom. I sat on the pot, and she sat on top of me and started peeing on ME!! We peeled off our clothes and jumped in the shower, while the girl who was giving the party cleaned up the pee (which trailed from the kitchen all the way down the hallway) before her mom found out!

7. When I was a kid I had two ventriloquist dolls (I still have one of them-her name is Missy). I read a book about ventriloquism and got kind of good at it. Sometimes I would do little "shows" with younger kids at the church I grew up in.

If you just read this, you are tagged! So, you have to either email me your "Seven Things," or post them as a comment. Have fun!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tagged-Stay Tuned

I have apparently been tagged by a friend in a game of blog-tag. Since I must get to my homework/studying, I will post my "seven things about me" on Wednesday or Thursday! Stay tuned!

Monday, October 29, 2007

To Kill A Mockingbird

I just bought tickets for my girls and me to see To Kill A Mockingbird. I'm so happy I have that to look forward to. I am so swamped this week with studying. A&P test on Wednesday, Physics test on Thursday and A&P Lab Practical next Tuesday!! AAAAAA!! Anyway, going to this play will be a welcome break for all of us girls.

When I was in high school, I played Mrs. Dubose (the cranky, old neighbor of Scout). When I auditioned for the part, I did a cold reading, and I used this great, old lady voice. Everybody laughed, and loved it. So, I got the part! On stage, I had my own little "house" (the front of it, anyway). It had a little, front porch with flower boxes and a front door with a big oval window. I think the whole cast had a hard time when they started tearing it down after the play.......Oh yeah - the guy who played Boo Radley "lived" next to me, and during one of the performances backstage, he mooned me!! HAHA! We had so much fun. It was a quirky, bunch of oddly-put-together kids, but we all meshed because we were all in the play. There is some magical quality to being in a play. Something you can't quite explain. Something deep, meaningful and connects the people in it inexplicably. There is nothing like the experience. Perhaps that's what art is.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sex Education

I was reading a blog friend's blog, and I wanted to share some information I shared with her. I have not purchased these books myself, but I have read a couple. If you don't know how to talk to your kids about sex, this might be a place to start. There is a pack of books you can buy, which has one book for each age group (from very young children to teens). The books have wonderful illustrations in honest, age-appropriate language. I found them on www.familylife.com, which by the way, is a wonderful site for parenting resources. Here is the title and authors of the books: God's Design For Sex Pack by Stan and Brenna Jones and Carolyn Nystrom.

I hope you find this helpful!

Flow

We're kind of getting in a flow around my house. Our flood restoration is pretty much behind us, school is on a roll and schedules are meshing. I've tried to make little adjustments to our lives, so things run smoothly. Things like creating specific days Ben can play with friends, instead of kids ringing the doorbell at any moment, or Ben begging to go play at someone else's house. I guess I'm not one of those moms who has a "revolving door" to the neighborhood. It's too chaotic. With the dog barking, Ben and everyone else needing to do homework, it just doesn't work in our house. So, Ben now has his certain days he can play with friends. It's made a big difference. We can focus on his AWANA verses together, do homework and just plain catch up with each other.

I created a check-off chart for one of my daughters in order to keep her on track with her responsibilities. It's extra effort for me to hold her accountable, but the payoff will hopefully be consistency on her part.

I've let myself off the hook on cleaning my house as I typically would, as well as cooking dinner every single night. I do what I can in both cases. I know it won't last forever, and everyone else does too.

I spend a lot of time driving right now, until my oldest gets her license. If her friend picks her up in the early morning for "devos," she rides with them to her high school afterwards, and hangs out to study for her college classes and/or go to the one high school class she attend there - orchestra. So, Monday through Thursday, I pick her up after my morning class, and take her over to the college. If Joe's up he will pick her up three hours later. Then, of course, I drive her to violin lessons, Ben to AWANA and myself to my evening Physics class twice a week. It gets to me a little - all this driving.

Soon, Melanie will be doing gymnastics, which means more driving. UNLESS! Amanda gets her license, and I can make her do it! :)

My classes right now are really time intensive. LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of memorization and studying. Physics is still a struggle, but I go get help from the teacher during her office hours, or head to the tutoring center (more driving). Anatomy and Physiology is fulfilling, yet extremely hard work. Today, I had to create a plan from today until November 5th, detailing what I will do each day to prepare for 3 big exams. One in Physics, one an A&P lecture exam and one a Lab Practical. I was starting to get overwhelmed. So, whenever I feel this way, I sit down and make a detailed plan. I break each test down into day-by-day study steps to being totally ready. Once I have my plan made, I don't have to worry anymore. I just follow my plan until I get there.

This is something I am requiring my daughter to do everyday when she comes home. She must write up a plan (by the half-hour) for how she will be completing her homework and other responsibilities. I'm hoping it's a time management skill that will stick.

So, that's the flow of my life right now. Sometimes there are unexpected glitches in life's flow, such as when I found out this week that the ultrasound program changed some of the pre-req's that I have been working so hard to get!! They eliminated the computer requirement (one of which I had already taken, thank you very much), and added a CNA (certified nursing assistant) course. I got kind of discouraged, but I prayed about it, and the Lord helped lift me up. I asked Him to direct my steps, and I ended up finding a CNA course offered for free, at two different retirement homes. They offer them on a regular basis, so I will be able to check back when they start the next courses. Now I just need to carefully plan when I will take this, because I will be taking the second half of A&P next quarter, and I know it will be intense all by itself. I may take it by itself, leaving two more college classes for Spring (Psychology and Speech), plus the CNA course.

I started thinking about this CNA course, and thought it might be kind of cool to get a job at a nursing home as a CNA, like one day a week or something (maybe after A&P is over!). I actually need some patient-related volunteer or work hours as points to get into the Ultrasound program, so this may work out yet!

Well, I must continue with today's study plans. If you have a blog, I am still checking yours, even though I may not leave a comment. Thanks for reading mine! :) Maybe I'll have something more interesting to write about soon. :)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Homecoming









Amanda is at her Homecoming dance as I speak, but I thought I would post a few pics before I crack open my A&P books. She went with a good friend named Colin, along with a group of friends. They went out to a nice restaurant beforehand, and are probably now dancing the "Soldier Boy" at their school.

Amanda had a little trouble with her hair before Colin came to pick her up. She had borrowed this crimper thing from a friend, but it just made her look like major bedhead. So, as you can see, we straightened it. Then, we curled all of her ends to make it look different than "everyday hair." I did her make-up for her, so it too, wouldn't look like "everyday" make-up. I think she looks pretty cute!

Her buddy, Colin is a great kid who is a senior. They go to church and small groups together. He is serious about studying acting, and is already auditioning for colleges. Recently, he attended a Shakespearean festival. Amanda was very excited to go to the dance with him. Neither of them are into the boyfriend/girlfriend drama, and just wanted to go and have fun together with "no awkwardness," as they put it. I think it's cool!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Roof and Bones

A roofer guy came out yesterday, and thinks that perhaps the "valleys" in our roofline was where the water was coming from. He noticed that the shingles' "dog ears" were not properly cut, so he cut them. He think this will solve the problem, because the water will not be wicking under the roof. If not, they're going to redo the valley-parts of the roof (which shouldn't have to be done since it's only 8 years old). Anyway, he wouldn't let us pay him, which was really cool of him. I guess we'll see if the problem is fixed when it rains next.....

I won't have much time for blogging, because right now I'm supposed to be learning all of the bones in the body. That might sound simple, but did you know that just one bone can have like 20-30 markings on it? Yeah. That's what I have to know. Every bump, every hole, every line, every curvature, EVERYTHING for each bone. And some of the names have 3-4 words in them! So, if you don't hear from me in awhile, that's why.

I covet those prayers and verses!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Throw Some Verses At Me

I could use some encouragement. Between the house stuff, family stuff and school pressures, I need some good "Word Food" to keep me going. Would you ask the Lord to bring to your mind a verse to share with me?

Monday, October 15, 2007

No Joke

This is not a joke. Joe woke up to dripping from our bedroom ceiling this afternoon. Our roof is leaking.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Something other than house stuff...

Would you like to read something other than mundane updates about my house? :)

Melanie is going to try out for the high school gymnastics team, and she is very excited. I'm excited for her to have a niche like that. As a 9th grader, she still attends junior high, but can be in high school sports.....

Amanda got a part in her high school's winter play. This is going to be interesting, coordinating her college schedule with this play....We think she's ready to take her driver's test now, which will be VERY helpful! Right now, I spend a lot of time shuttling her back and forth to school (since she does college and high school at the same time). She is doing really well, by the way!

Benny is doing very well in school, too. He's an excellent reader, and I'm trying to foster that more. He is thriving in AWANA, and wears his little vest proudly. He has earned his patch, a crown and two jewels. :) I love listening to him say his verses, and see how enthusiastic he is about it.

Joe and I are going to try to get away soon. We had been thinking about it before our flood, but now we REALLY need some getaway time. There are these really neat, log cabins in the mountains that I have been thinking of.....

I decided not to join a small group for now. If I did it, I was going to try to do a morning group, but my only free morning is Friday. There are supplemental instruction opportunities on Fridays for my A&P class, and I really need to do that. Plus, I think it would be important to volunteer in Ben's class once a month, at least. I know I will join a group, eventually, but I will probably have to wait until all of my A&P classes are done.

Gotta go study....

My House

My house. It smells new now. Joe finished painting the repaired drywall today, and you wouldn't even be able to tell that it had been torn off. His last task is to reinstall crown moulding on that wall. We will be having our downstairs carpeting cleaned on Friday, and we're officially DONE with our water damage restoration ordeal.

Our insurance company covered all the water damage done to the specific areas of the house. This did not cover the carpeting in two bedrooms, but we did it all anyway. We also had our third bathroom floor replaced to match the other ones, which was not covered, either. And, actually, there was a small bit of water damage to that flooring as well from a tiny separation in the old vinyl, so it was probably a good thing we ripped that up. They actually had to cut out a piece of that underlayment. Anyway, my task now is to tally up everything we spent and see it we spent what they gave us. If we did, we can claim a little more money, which would be cool, since we went ahead and bought the toilets.

All in all, this whole thing has turned out O.K. It was a major inconvenience, and sometimes overwhelming, but we got through it, and have a pretty cool-looking house. I remember the first day all of this happened. Joe was working a double shift, and came home to find me sobbing on the couch with fans everywhere. I was freaking out. We went outside to get some air, and he stopped and prayed about everything. It was nice. He also handled a lot of the coordination, since I had just started my classes. He has done a great job putting things back together.

Apparently, it's not the end of the world to have a flood in your house and replace most of your flooring. It is survivable. Life does actually go on......

Physics Angel

I have been immersed in studying these last couple of weeks. Physics has been a real challenge for me. We got to our second chapter, and it's a bunch of story problems dealing with one-dimensional kinematics. We had to learn how to find out the given information and decide what information we're supposed to find, using four kinematics equations. If what I just said just flew right over your head, don't worry. That's what it's been doing to me!! I've cried to my teacher, cried to another student and threw an adult temper tantrum with my husband over it. I was sure that I was stupid, would never pass the class, and never become a sonographer.

Finally, though, I found an older gentleman in the college's tutoring center named Doug. I am convinced that Doug is an angel sent by God. (hee hee) He sat with me for two stinkin' hours, slowly working me through a couple of problems to help me discover how I needed to think and handle these problems. Somehow, a veil has been lifted. So much so, that the prophecy I proclaimed to my instructor that I would be failing the first test, did not come true. In fact, I took that dang test last Thursday and felt really good about it. I chalk it all up to God, and my Physics angel.......

Monday, October 8, 2007

Carpet's In and some Mom advice

Our new carpet is in! The last three days have proven to be a true upheaval of our lives. My attempt at diverting a nasty cold failed, as I helped my husband move furniture and our other belongings from room to room. I am totally sick now. The carpet guy did three areas at a time in the process of two days. Every room in the house was temporary storage for other rooms. Crazy. Anyway, my pretty Frise carpet is completely installed. Now, we start putting rooms back together. Joe is putting back baseboards today, as well as touching up paint and re-installing doors. He still has to finish the drywall repair and crown moulding job, and after that I can have my downstairs carpet cleaned. Inch by inch....

I had my hair colored the other day. This lady comes to my house and does a full foil for sixty bucks. Anyway, she related a piece of advice I thought was pretty good and I wanted to pass it on! Here it is: if your child doesn't want to eat their dinner, tell them, if they don't eat it tonight, they have to eat it for breakfast the next day! HAHA! Pretty good, huh? I used this one on my son tonight. We had Tilapia for dinner. Can you imagine Tilapia for breakfast? Ewwww.....

Friday, October 5, 2007

Coming Along...

Here's the house update as of today:

New vinyl installed in all 3 bathrooms
3 new toilets installed
Drywall 1/2 done
Carpet installed this weekend??

How are my college classes?

Physics: totally lost-was in tears yesterday
Anatomy & Physiology: it rocks

How was my small group?

I was sick, tired and stressed. I didn't go.

And the fam?

Getting over colds; doing great in school; happy; playing and working hard; waiting for a clean house again.....

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Mmmmmmm

Mmmm...I just polished off the last of several chocolate-covered gummy bears. Who would not love these? The chocolate starts melting in your mouth immediately, while you get the pleasure of chewing the gummy part. Mmmmm...

I'm feeling rather good about myself right now! I got 22 out of 24 on my first Anatomy/Physiology quiz!! I have been a studying FOOL in this class, so the payoff feels GOOOD!!

Physics is weird. I wasn't sure how much of the textbook I was actually supposed to read, but it seems like I need to be reading it well, because the last lecture was like listening to someone speak Chinese, and hoping I would catch on to something soon....I hope this gets better....I really don't want another class where it's a struggle the entire time....

I went out to lunch with a good friend yesterday. Maybe you've heard me talk about my lamb-now-sheep friend....She's doing well, but struggling with health and faith issues. She thinks she needs more faith for her healing. I said that it's not about more faith, but WHO your faith is in. Otherwise, it's relying on yourself to muster up what you think is enough faith to qualify for getting something from God.

It seems to be popular "theology" to treat God like some kind of vending machine, where if you put enough "faith" in the slot, you get what you want. It scares me. This is just me, but I think it's up to God what He does, even if it's healing us. We just need to wait on Him and trust Him that He knows. It's not an easy feat, this waiting on God for something need, like healing. It's not easy to understand why bad things happen, or things are difficult for us. Wouldn't it just be easier if we were all happy, all the time? The harder truth is: the Bible doesn't say anywhere, that once you become a Christian, everything is going to be great in life. Sometimes, there is still suffering and hard times. But, the difference is we have God with us in it and through it. He promises to never leave us. And, this is life is but a blink of an eye compared to the awesome eternity awaiting us with Him!! Praise God!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Fuzz Brain Gone

I am excited to let you know that since I quit ingesting artificial sweeteners, and started taking B-Complex, extra B6 and Fish Oil tablets, I feel like a new woman!! I feel like I can think more clearly, concentrate better and I have more energy. I am also careful to make sure I do not skip meals, and eat healthy snacks in between, like cheese or seedy trail mix. I'm still making my latte in the morning (WITH caffeine!), but no other caffeine during the day. I am noticing that I get up in the morning more easily than before, and I don't seem to take an energy dip in the afternoon.

My next step is to add Vitamin C to my regimen to help protect me against all of the gick I will be exposed to at school. And then, I will probably add Calcium and Magnesium after that.

I don't think I really have time for exercise, although I might try to see how often I could sneak out for a half hour walk around the neighborhood. So much of my extra time is consumed with studying right now, I'm not going to pressure myself......

All in all, my Fuzz Brain is GONE, and I am so happy!

House Restoration Update

Here's how our house is coming:

flooring contractor: hired
vinyl for 3 bathrooms: ordered
upstairs carpet: Friese carpet ordered
drywall repair: Joe has it half-way done
crown moulding: purchased
plumbing: 3 new toilets purchased
checks from insurance company: hopefully on their way

Next steps:

finish drywall, texture and paint
paint and install crown moulding
have vinyl installed
install toilets
touch-up wall paint in damaged areas
move furniture out of upstairs
have carpet installed
replace all removed baseboard mouldings
have downstairs carpet cleaned

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Group next Friday..

Well, I guess I will have another week to get ready to be in a small group. I emailed the leader, and she said that the group starts NEXT Friday. She also said that we will be doing SOAP's. SOAP's are a method of daily devotions that our church uses in small groups and what-not. It follows a daily Bible reading plan, where you read through the Bible in one year. Then, there is a journaling process, where you do each letter of the acronym SOAP.

S= Scripture (write a verse in your journal that stuck out in the scripture reading for the day)
O=Observation(write down what you see in the scripture)
A=Application(write how you will be different today because of what you have just read)
P=Prayer(Write out a prayer based on the devotion)

All of this can be recorded in a "Life Journal" created by Pastor Wayne Cordeiro that you can buy, or any kind of journal you want. The Life Journal itself is very organized, and you can even create a table of contents of the titles of each devotion for future reference. There is a website about the journals at www.lifejournal.cc.

My daughter has a Life Journal, which she uses. Then, she and her friends get together regularly to discuss highlights of their individual devotional lives. It's kind of neat, because everyone is reading the same thing on the same day. Pretty cool! I like how our church encourages daily devotions. Sometimes they will have someone share a journal entry during a church service. I also like how small groups can center around this, rather than a Bible study/supplemental book.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Quickie

I can't write much, because I have some studying to do before I hit my wall and have to go to bed. But, I was thinking the other day, that even as much as I needed to leave my old church, I really miss some stuff. I miss that I knew the names and faces of a few hundred people. I miss the familiarity of the faces. Maybe even the quick, superficial conversations once a week.

I really felt this tonight at AWANA when I got to talking with a couple of gals from my old church. I kinda miss these people. I mean, man, it's not like I stopped LIKING people just because I left! Maybe some stopped liking me, (HAHA!) but I still feel exactly the same.......

Maybe these thoughts are a sign that I'm ready to join this small group at my new church. It starts this Friday morning. I'm not intimidated by being in a small group or Bible study. I never have been. But, I'm afraid of this not working. I'm afraid of finding out it's a bunch of churchy women playing the churchy game.

Being at this church and not being a part of anything, has sort of been like holding my breath under water. And, I'm afraid that, when I get in this group, it's going to be like getting to the surface of the water, finally letting my breath out and I break down and cry. Get all emotional with people I don't even know. I don't know why I think I will cry. Maybe it's because I've just been so dang afraid, and now I'm doing it......I'm crossing over my twelve inch thick, very protective wall I've constructed. What's going to protect me now, sitting in the circle of this small group?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Studying my butt off

I've been pretty much studying my butt off since school started, trying to stay on top of things with interruptions from dealing with our insurance claim from the flood. We are now getting money to replace our carpeting upstairs! Yay! Joe and I are going to work our money so we can replace all three bathroom vinyl also. So, we will pretty much have all new flooring throughout our house. Our downstairs carpeting is only 2 years old, and so is the kitchen floor......It's just going to be very interesting how we are going to get all of our furniture out, so the new carpet can come in.....I told Joe he needs to basically schedule any work to be done on his days off, because I have a flood of my own - a flood of studying.....

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Land of the Living

I'm still in the land of the living. As of today, that is. So far, two bathroom floors are torn up, a large portion of the downstairs sheetrock is removed and upstairs carpet is ripped up. Each team that comes over to check drying progress, has a different opinion about our kitchen floor, but today, Joe and I made a command decision to not have it removed. We are negotiating having our upstairs carpet completely replaced. One team said it was salvageable, but the other team says it's not. As difficult and inconvenient as it is going to be, we would rather have it replaced. We are also going to pay the difference, and have our third bath flooring replaced to match the others. We are also wondering if we should replace our cheesy toilets. The guy that came today, said that he sees a lot of water damage in new construction, because of the cheap toilets they put in. He recommended either replacing all of the "guts" of each toilet, or just getting new ones. I'm all for that, as I don't want to ever do this again......

I also started my Anatomy and Physiology, as well as my Physics classes the day after our flood. I'm going to have to study hard, but I'm actually excited about learning A&P. I've always wanted to study this stuff. The Physics, not so much, so my focus is going to be on doing well in A&P.

Thank you to those who have commented and are praying for us. I'm feeling not so much like I'm going to crack anymore. But, each day is some new question or surprise, so keep those prayers coming! Insurance is going to cover all water damage, but they determine how much money we need to do everything. Once we agree, they cut us a check, and we have to take care of hiring out the work. Joe has a friend lined up to do the sheet rock repair, and he is going to put up the crown moulding himself. After that, it's on to the flooring and having the downstairs carpet cleaned. Pray it goes smoothly, we stay within the budget and it's done quick.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Through The Roof

My anxiety level is through the roof right now. Last night, for whatever reason, our second bathroom toilet overflowed. This morning, I awoke to a half inch of water covering the bathroom, and wet carpet extending out into the hallway, and into the entrances of two bedrooms. The water had also taken the path of least resistance and traveled downstairs, where I found more wet carpet, and dripping coming from the beautiful crown moulding my husband installed in my front room. There was also a wet spot on the ceiling a few feet away from the dripping.

Amanda and I mopped up the water in the bathroom, and started walking on towels spread over the carpet. I got out my carpet cleaner, and attempted to suck out more water. I dumped and dumped that thing, and the carpet was still absolutely, squishing wet like wet sod. The dripping downstairs stopped.

I won't go into too much detail from here, except to say that we are now dealing with our insurance company to take care of the problem. They sent out a water damage restoration company, who went through my home like a whirlwind, and without much explanation, told me they were going to take out the upstairs bathroom flooring, pull up the carpet, remove the pad and dry everything out. They also said that they wanted to rip out my kitchen floor, the downstairs bathroom floor, rip off the crown moulding, remove sheetrock in various places and pull up the carpet and remove the pad.

I freaked. Four workers stared at me while I sat in a chair, and started my freak show. I couldn't understand why and how this kind of demolition could begin without an adjustor calling me or coming out to assess the damage. How was I to know if, once they tore everything apart, that my insurance company was going to pay me enough to put it all back together?! I made them wait around while I tried to contact insurance people for answers. Of course, I couldn't get a hold of any one right away. I finally got in touch with my agent, after leaving a tearful and distraught message. He said to not let them rip anything up until the adjustor comes. That was my gut feeling anyway, so it was good to have it confirmed. I agreed to the placement of several turbo fans and two dehumidfiers for now, until the adjustor comes tomorrow.

My house is freaking LOUD with all these fans, no one can really talk to each other. It's starting to become very hot. Tonight, my neighbor offered to let us sleep at her house - praise the Lord. Joe is going to stay in our room with our window open, with our dog.

The adjustor said we could stay in a hotel and be reimbursed. Maybe we'll do that on the weekend. Right now, we have too much going on, so the neighbor's house is perfect. Amanda and I are starting classes at the college tomorrow, among other major things.

Like I said, my stress level is through the roof. Joe has been working double shifts the last couple of days, and came home this afternoon. I was in a heap sobbing on my couch. He took tonight off, and is cancelling is other overtime for the week. This sucks, as we really needed that extra money, but I'm SO, SO, glad to know that I will have my husband's help and I won't be trying to do all of this without him. I'm also the kind of person who can visualize a big picture, and determine each step it will take to get there. So, you can imagine what is going on in my brain when I see the amount of demolition and reconstruction that is going to be taking place in my home. I covet your prayers for me. I was already stressing about starting these classes, and now I have this.

Needless to say, I will not be blogging for a little while. The house is so hot, I need to turn off the computer to save it, anyway. PLEASE pray for me. I feel like I'm gonna crack....

Monday, September 17, 2007

I'm Stepping Out

Next weekend at my church, there is going to be what is called a "Small Groups Showcase," where all the new small groups are advertised. This will begin the new season of groups, and I am going to join one! I am hoping for an early Friday morning group of women. I am ready to be a group member and get to know some women. It will be weird not to be the leader. Usually, once I step out at a church, I end up leading something. That's why I haven't stepped out since we started attending the church over a year ago. My plan is to be very quiet and try to drink in what happens. I hope to get to know some women and not reveal my past involvements. I don't want people to know how I have served in the past, and peg me for something. I want God to lead me where He wants me to go, not someone else or even myself. I want to grow in the Lord, learn from others and make friends. Gain support and encouragement. I need to start feeling a part of this place where I keep the seat warm once a week, and not a part of it because I'm "serving" there. I want to BELONG to it. I want to BELONG because of me - who I am. Not what I could offer and do.

Keep me in your prayers that God provides the right group with the right women at the right time of day. I'm feeling fragile, so I don't know if I can take too much disappointment with this process right now, so pray that it will be a blessing to my spirit.....

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Jacuzzi Tub

Ben is in the next room taking a bath. He was playing with this Legos, when he wanted to know if Legos can get wet. Then, he asked if he could take a bath. I thought that would be a good idea, as I had noticed some dirt under those fingernails (it never seems to come all the way out in the shower). Anyway, he was noisily playing and talking in there when I hear this long, loud, bubbly fart. I yelled, "OH, Ben!" He laughs. Then I said, "Are you making a jacuzzi?" Laughter again, "Yeah!"

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Vitamins

I've been taking a Vitamin B Complex, a little extra Vitamin B6 and fish oil for about a week now. I'm not sure if I have noticed any differences, but I think I have to give it more time. The fish oil, I had to back off of for a day, because it was upsetting my stomach. It says on the bottle, that I have to take it with food, and that's for sure. After another week or so, I'm going to add Vitamin C. I think every week, I'm going to add something else, until I am taking all of the supplements I want to try.

I'm doing all of this to see if it will help some of what I call "fuzz brain." It's this feeling that I can't quite think very well, and it seems to me, that if this fuzz would just lift off my brain, I could concentrate. I'm sure this is related to my burnout, and is possibly related to adrenal fatigue. I just hate this feeling of not being 100%. I need to be 100% to do well in school, and I'm concerned about that.

I am also trying to be extra mindful of what I eat, making sure I'm not having too much sugar or refined flour products. I'm not eliminating it all, but just trying to have less. I am trying to have more protein with my meals, and snack in between meals on things like seedy trail mix or raisins or whole grain brown rice crackers. I thought about quitting coffee, but I only have one cup in the morning and nothing more. I actually heard a doctor say that coffee is really good at preventing types of cancer, so I'm sticking with my morning latte.

I'm not making gigantic changes. I'm taking it slow, and gradually doing things better. I feel pretty good physically, although I can tire easily. I realize that this would change if I got my butt going with some exercise. We dropped our Y membership (except Joe, who doesn't seem to be using it, however), but I enjoy walking, so I can walk around my neighborhood. (Oh- this is so embarrassing when I know my friend who runs triathlons is going to read this...)

One thing at a time.....

Bedtime

I'm sitting here, checking a couple of my favorite blogs. I just put Ben to bed with his classical music playing. He calls it "violin music." He insists on falling asleep to it. On Sunday nights, it's so funny, because the classical station plays religious music. Mostly, they will play what I think are monks chanting/praying. They actually sound a little creepy sometimes. Anyway, it just struck me how unusual it is that my first grader wants to listen to classical music to fall asleep. I wonder if it is from the endless orchestra/symphony concerts of his older sisters that he has attended in his young life. Come to think of it, he falls asleep at them! HAHAHA! Well, maybe I just figured this out, didn't I?

Speaking of bedtime, I also sing a little song I made up for him when I put him to bed. Each of my girls had their own specific bedtime song, too. The girls don't request me to sing to them anymore, but Benny still does. His goes like this: "Good night, Ben. Good night, Ben. I love you, little Ben. It's time for you to go to sleep. Good night, Ben." Amanda's little song went like this: "Amanda, I love you, you are my little girl. Amanda, I love you, you are my little girl." And, Melanie's went like this: "Close your eyes, Melanie, it's time to go to sleep. Close your eyes, Melanie, it's time to go to sleep. Ohhh, it's time to go to sleep, little Melanie. Yes, it's time to go to sleep right now. So, close your eyes, Melanie. It's time to go to sleep."

Wow. Mel got a long one! Sorry I can't share the tune for each one......I remember when Amanda would wake up in the night scared, I would sing it from my bedroom, and she would go back to sleep. Melanie would say "Sing the Melanie song." And Ben wants me to tickle his back when I sing it.....I hope I remember these songs.....

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My Son

MY son. Yes, MY son has memorized John 3:16. I tried to tell a friend, and I cried. It is the most awesome thing ever. AND, he is excited about it!! What's really cool, is that, this is the first of many verses he will be memorizing over the course of the school year in his AWANA program. What could be better than seeing your child "hiding the Word in their heart."

MAN!!!

Isaiah and School

So, I'm way behind in my "Read The Bible in 90 Days" plan. I think it might end up being "Read The Bible in 120 Days," HAHA!! Oh well. It's still pretty awesome to read it in one fell swoop like this. Right now, I'm in Isaiah. Frankly, I don't get Isaiah. I am going to have to read a commentary or something, because I need help getting what in the heck is going on. I know Isaiah was a prophet, and I'm pretty sure there are some "end times" prophecies in there, but I am so at a loss....Ugh! It's really hard to be reading something that I am just not getting.

I mean, some books I have read, I got what was going on, but I would still think "why is this in the Bible?" Like Ecclesiastes. Dude. The theme is basically "Life Is Meaningless." Hello!! Do NOT read that book if you're depressed. And Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs). It's pretty much love scenes between a husband and a wife - really neat (and kind of hot) reading, but I still wonder "why?" I guess you could sum it up by saying that God wanted us to realize that He created sex, too, and He made it to be a wonderful thing. I've heard it said that God doesn't cover His eyes, but rather is probably saying "Good job!" It's kind of funny, but how cool that God gave husbands and wives something so special. Too bad the world has warped it so much....

On another note, I'm starting back to school in one week exactly. I'm looking forward to "getting a life," because I need something else to do. With the kids gone all day, laundry, cooking and going to the store just aren't quite fulfilling. Yesterday, I went to the mall to kill time, basically. I saw a couple of friends (you can't go anywhere around here without seeing someone you know). I got a couple of tank tops and a pair of black shoes at Target. Killing time isn't fulfilling, either. I mean, I need my down time - don't get me wrong, but I also need to feel like I have something with meaning to do. Now, don't go saying that "being a mom is meaningful" yadayadayadayada....The kids are gone all day!!! It's boring!! I want a life. So, school's coming and that's good for me. I'm a little scared about the two classes I'm taking, because they each have a lab: Physics and Anatomy & Physiology. I really hope I didn't screw myself by taking these at the same time. Also, the guy who is doing the lab portion of my A&P class is the same jerk who taught my Biology class Spring Quarter. I could almost go into a depression if I think about it too much. This guys is a complete ---hole. He made Spring Quarter so bad for me, with his constant religious discrimination and intimidation. I'm hoping that A&P is quite different from Biology 101, so there won't be such an emphasis on evolution. If you would pray for me I could sure use it!!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Life Ain't No Crystal Stair

Life Ain't No Crystal Stair
Langston Hughes

Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor --
Bare.
But all the time
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps
'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.
Don't you fall now --
For I'se still goin', honey,
I'se still climbin',
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Driving and boy stuff

So, I survived the first week of school. It went OK! I've had to drive Amanda back and forth from her high school, since she doesn't have her driver's license yet. She has one more "drive" with her driver's ed. instructor, and she'll be finished with that. Joe and I realized that she is going to need more practice before she attempts her driver's license test. She kind of scared me today, when I sensed her not being in total control. She gets a little panicky. So, Joe and I agreed that one of us will be taking her out for an hour each day, until we feel like she is ready for her test. We started her off on our stick shift, which was probably not a good idea. We have now switched to the truck (Explorer), so we can get her to focus on the aspects of driving, and not operating the stick for now. Even though she will be driving the stick mostly, we are going to allow her to take her test in the truck. I think she'll have a better chance at passing....

Something funny. Ben was playing with Tinker Toys, and made himself a nice jackhammer. He was like "Hey Mom, can I jackhammer the house?" I said "Sure!" Then he says, "Look, my jackhammer turns into a gun!" And, he aims it at me. What a boy.

He does other boy stuff, like the other day, my neighbor came over upset. My son and his buddy were in the backyard throwing rocks at her house. She got me a little riled with her approach, but I contained myself, as I tried to understand that I would probably be angry too, if some kid was throwing rocks at my house! I took Ben and his buddy over to pick up the rocks and apologize. I showed him how he could have broken their yard lights, or their window, or their flowerpot. I think the neighbor was satisfied. She seemed to soften, anyway....

Then today, his buddy's Dad came over, because the buddy had come home with a big wet spot on his t-shirt. Come to find out, the boys had been spitting on each other. Lovely.

I can't even recall having people come and talk to me about bad things my girls were doing. It just didn't happen. The girls played Barbies and Polly Pockets and Beanie Babies. No spitting, rock throwing or jackhammering.....