Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hi Ho, Hi's back to work I go!

Today was fun. I stayed home with Samuel so he could recover from surgery.

In advance, we had the teachers send us his school work for Wed-Fri because I wasn't sure how long he'd need to stay home. After taking the girls to school this morning, I learned why it is that I teach preschool & not third grade. I don't see homeschooling in my future, either. I did find it intriguing that we finished 3 days' worth of make up work in 2 hours. Sure, it was a not-so-fun 2 hours, but we got it done.

We watched a movie together when we were done. Hotel for Dogs is a fairly new release & we loved it. The basic premise is that 2 foster kids with a love for dogs start finding strays & taking care of them in an old abandoned hotel. A few friends join in....and a few more dogs....and before you know it, you've got an empty building with a few dozen dogs inside. The younger of the 2 foster kids is a mechanical genius & he builds all sorts of contraptions to feed the dogs when the kids are gone, a potty device that collects their...umm....waste products & disposes of it. It's really a fun movie that elementary through young teens will love. I don't think there was anything inappropriate in the movie, so I'll give it 2 thumbs up.

When the movie was over, that's when the true surgical recovery happened. I made lunch in the kitchen while my 9 year old (remember: surgery YESTERDAY) son moved the 2 couches (by himself!) to the sides of our coffee table so we could sit & eat together. Hmm....I wonder if he's feeling better?

A couple of hours later when the doctor's office called to check on how he's doing, I glanced over & saw his actions & said " the moment, he's doing jumping jacks and singing." The nurse cracked up and said, "Yes, I think he's better!".

And so......I'm whistling the 7 Dwarfs tune.....Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's BACK to work I go.

And ya know what? I can't wait. I love my job!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Samuel's surgery....and an "interesting" conversation on the way

Today was Samuel long-needed surgery for tubes & removal of his adenoids. We took the girls to school and then he & I came home so I could finish getting ready before we left about 8:30. We were due to check into the surgical center at 9:00.

As we got into the van, Samuel asked me a strange question, which was followed by an odd conversation. See?

Samuel: Mom, was King neutoned?
Me: Huh?
Samuel: Was King neutoned? You know, that shot they give dogs to make them calmer & less aggressive.
All I could think of was a fig neuton & sat there with a puzzled look on my face trying to figure out what he was talking about.....then it hit me...NEUTERED! Where in the world did this conversation come from??
Me: Honey, you mean neutered. And it's a surgery, not a shot. Yes, King was neutered before we got him.
Samuel: Why did they do that? He wasn't aggressive.
Me: Well, it's really not a surgery to change the dog's personality. It's the surgery that dogs have to keep them from having babies.
Samuel: Oh.
After a minute of his "wheels turning", he piped up again.
Samuel: Wait mom....boy dogs don't have babies. The girl dogs do!
Me: Well yes, but the boy dogs are daddies. When they have the neutering surgery, they can't be a daddy dog. Remember how I had surgery after I had Sarah so that I couldn't have any more babies? And some men have a surgery like that too. There is also a surgery for dogs that they can do to make them not have more babies.
Samuel: oh.
Again, we drove along in silence while he digested this & figured out more questions.
Samuel: So....what does the surgery do?
Me: They cut off the part of the boy dog that he needs to make a baby.
Samuel: You mean, like they take out the part of him that wants to help the mommy dog raise baby dogs?
Me: The boy dog has sperm & the girl dogs have eggs and they have to get together to have a litter of puppies.
Samuel: Wait. What part of the boy dog do they cut off?
Me: Uh.....well, you know the boy parts you have (insert scientifically correct words that we use in our family)?
Samuel: Yes.
Me: They cut off the (scientific words again).
Samuel: oh. (He kind of gasped as he started figuring out that they cut off THAT.)
At this point, we were only about 3 miles from our house, so this all happened pretty fast. I was hoping he'd leave the conversation at this point, but apparently he wanted to hear more. This mama was in the front seat wishing that Larry was with us to help me answer all these questions....and still wondering what on earth sparked this conversation. Maybe he was watching Animal Planet while I was getting ready. It finally "hit" him.
Samuel: SO.........the girl dog & boy dogs who haven't had that surgery have to umm....touch their 'parts' together to have a baby?
Me: Yes.
Samuel: (said in horror:) Is that how it works for people too?????
Me: Yes.
Samuel: That is SO gross. I don't want to get married & have children. No way. That's weird.
Me: What? No grandkids for me? I bet you'll change your mind when you get older.
Samuel: Uh-uh! That's gross. I don't want to have to do THAT--ever. Sorry mom.
After a moment of quiet I reminded him that this was a private subject that he did NOT need to go to school & talk to his friends about. He agreed that he'd NEVER talk about THAT because it was gross!! ha ha! We'll fill in more details later, but I figure for a 5 or 10 min conversation, he got the basics down.
LOL!!!!!!!!! I never knew that we'd be discussing reproduction on the way to his surgery!!

We arrived at the surgery center & got checked in. Grandma arrived to hang out with us and we got taken back into the Pre-Op room fairly quick. The nurse gave him a gown to put on. While I signed forms, Grandma got him into his gown. The nurse kind of whispered to me "Do you think he'll let me start his IV now or should we wait til he's in the OR?" I told her that he'd be fine to do it either way. He's always fascinated with watching them draw blood & give him shots at the pediatrician's office, so I said to go for it. She was really sweet, a mother of 4. She talked him through everything she was going to do and showed him each piece of equipment while she got it going. Sure enough, in just a couple minutes' time, he had an IV in his hand without ever shedding a tear or acting upset or anything. What a trooper!

We had to wait a little over an hour before surgery time, so we occupied our time with taking pictures & being silly.

When the surgical nurse came him & put the Versed (goofy drug, as we call it) in the IV, Samuel was pretty insistent that he was "just fine" & didn't feel 'funny' at all. Since they put it in the IV, it hit his system a lot quicker than if he drank it, so within just a minute his eyes looked a little glazed over & he just grinned a big goofy grin. The nurse laughed & said "Yep, I think it's working. Why don't you lay back, honey?" He flopped back on the pillow & they wheeled him away feeling perfectly content to go off to surgery with strangers.

Mom & I were led to a family consult room to wait. I timed it. When we got into the room, I went next door to the bathroom & looked at my watch. It was 11:17. The doctor walked in to tell us it was over & things went fine at 11:34. I knew that the tubes surgery was only about 10-15 minutes long, so apparently adding in removal of the adenoids doesn't add much time to the surgery at all. We were led into the post-op/recovery room at 12:05. It took him a little while to wake up enough to sit up & drink some juice. When he first woke up, his throat was numb from the lidocaine that they put on the tube when they intubated him and he was a little freaked out because he didn't think he could breathe or speak. Poor baby boy was coughing & gagging a little in an effort to get in a big breath. The nurse (who was SO sweet) came in & talked to him & assured him that it was just numb and that he was indeed breathing just fine. (His oxygen level was 99, so clearly he was breathing without a problem.) By 1:00, we were getting into the van to come home.

Throughout our time at the surgical center, nurses & doctors mentioned that "this is the boy who let them start the IV" repeatedly. We really didn't think that he'd pulled off something that was that big of a deal, but mom finally asked the nurse why we were getting so many compliments about this seemingly little thing. He said that they have so many kids to physically fight them on putting in an IV that it's just always a big deal when a kid willingly allows them to without them being sedated first. And to sit there & calmly watch the whole thing was a big deal. We were proud of him for behaving so sweetly & cooperating so well, but didn't realize that it was going to be a big to do with all the staff there.

He came home & sat on the couch watching cartoons til suppertime. He didn't eat anything because he wasn't hungry and kept falling asleep over & over. At about 7:45, I picked him up & carried him to his bed after Larry & I held him up to put his medicine in his mouth a few minutes prior. Obviously the effects of the anesthesia haven't fully worn off yet!

We'll be staying home tomorrow (he & I) to get a little more rest & heal up.

Thanks for the prayers you lifted for us! The little munchkin went to bed in no pain but he was still pretty groggy. I bet he'll be more alert tomorrow!

Editted to add: If you would like to see pictures of Samuel before/after surgery, check my facebook page. If you're not on Facebook, email me & I'll send you a few pics.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How cool is this?

Just take a peek at this link:

Scalloped Potatoes with Ham & Cheese

I posted this on Facebook, but I know some of the folks who read my blog aren't FB devotees, so I'm sharing it here, too.

This was last night's supper & ohhhhhhh so yummy. Enjoy!

1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 can cream of potato soup, undiluted (original recipe calls for 2/3 c. of this, but I used the whole can)
1 c. milk
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. seasoned salt
5-6 medium red potatoes, peeled & thinly sliced (original recipe called for 8, but I used 5-6 & it seemed like plenty)
3 c. fully cooked, cubed ham (I used the full 3 cups, but I think it might've been a little too much. You could probably go with 2 to 2 1/2 cups & it would be fine.)
1 c. shredded Mozzarella
2 c. shredded Cheddar, divided

In a large bowl, combine the first 8 ingredients. Add the potatoes, ham & cheese (reserve 1 c. of cheddar); toss to coat. Transfer to a greased 13x9 pan. Bake uncovered at 350 for 65-70 min. or until bubbly & potatoes are tender.

I pulled it out about 5 min before it was due to be finished to check the potatoes & threw on the remaining cheese so it was all gooey & melty when I pulled it out at the end of the cooking time. Can you say "comfort food"? :)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Random Thoughts with Liz

I'm getting antsy for school to be done. The kids & I (and "my" kids at school) are ready for school to be over with. It's Spring Fever time! Rather than focusing on the smell of new pink erasers & the feel of a smooth new pencil, I'm daydreaming about the slip & slide in our front yard and day trips to the park & museums! I hate hot weather, but I'm really looking forward to summertime!!!

Every time I get into my car & smell the raspberry air freshener, it reminds me of the smell of snowcones & I get all wistful thinking of days when I was a kid and went to the snowcone stand across the street from the park. I think of the time last summer when we piled all the kids & two of the neighbor kids into the van & made a trip to the snowcone stand to get everyone a cold treat on a 100 degree day. I have no idea what hours the snowcone place is open now. We will have to check that out before June!
Samuel's tubes/adenoids surgery is Wednesday. We'll find out on Tuesday afternoon what time surgery will be. He & I will be out of work/school on Wednesday & Thursday for sure, and we'll play it by ear on Friday. I've got a sub in place just in case we decide to play hookie one more day, but can call & cancel if he's ready to get back to school on Friday. I have a feeling, however, that he's going to want to stay home.
Today makes 1 week since we lost King. The initial heartbreak has passed and the kids aren't spending every single day talking about King now, but you should see their bedroom walls. Last Monday, I had about 50 pics of King printed & picked them up from CVS before I picked up the kids from school. When they got home, they all attacked the package of pictures & nabbed their favorite pictures. Samuel & Sarah stapled a thousand pics all over their walls to be able to look at King all the time. :) Savannah tucked her pictures into her journal where she wrote a sweet memorial about him. Hopefully in the next week or so, we'll have a chance to go to my parents' house & let the kids see King's grave. I've held off on doing that yet because I know it may be too soon & I don't want to start the tears all over again just yet.

Interestingly, I still haven't stopped looking into the backyard as I drive in from taking the kids to school or when I come home from work. I can still picture my sweet fluffy dog raising up his head from his favorite napping spot to greet me when I came home. Sure do miss that sweet doggy!
On Tuesday, Samuel will take the Math portion of the TAKS test. You may remember our concern about the reading portion that he took last month. He did REALLY well on that part despite our fears that he would fail, so I'm hoping he'll do equally well on the math part. Fortunately the math portion doesn't carry the heavy dread of the reading part. For 3rd graders in Texas, if you fail the reading part of the TAKS test, you fail 3rd grade. The math part is important, but it doesn't carry the pass/fail power of the reading part.

Savannah will also take a portion of the 7th grade TAKS that day, but I honestly don't even remember what part. She has always done well on standardized tests, so I know she'll be fine.

Sarah gets to go on a field trip that day while the older kids take a test. She's giddy talking about going to the movies & skating rink.
Today was our membership interview at Bethel. I kind of laugh at the idea of an "interview" for church membership. It's really way less formal than the word "interview" sounds. Most churches do something similar, but every place calls it something different. The truth is, you sit down with a church elder & just talk. They want to know that you agree with what the church believes & stands for, that you are indeed a believer in Christ, that you are willing to serve in some capacity in the church....that sort of thing. The elder we talked to today laughed during our interview & said it was funny that we were even sitting down to have this conversation. Considering that the church licensed Larry to preach several years ago, it's kind of obvious that they're going to accept us as members. It was nice to have a while to chat with Chuck, though!
Savannah has a Gameboy game she wants to sell on eBay. She's been bugging me (usually at the most inoppurtune moments) for several days now about getting on eBay & listing it. Today, in a moment of frustration, I told her we'd list it Thursday night at 7:21pm. We both laughed, but tonight, she mentioned it again.......restating the date & time we'd be getting on eBay to sell it. She cracks me up. She's so literal. She is sincerely going to hold me to the Thurs 7:21pm time. ha ha!
Time to start a new week!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Anyone know?

Over a year ago, we had a ton of viruses removed from our computer when it crashed. Leading up to the crash, I had trouble with pop ups (to the tune of hundreds of them). Lately, I'm having trouble w/ pop ups from blogspot sites. I've reset my AOL pop up controls because I only have the problem when I go through AOL's browser. When I use Firefox I don't have a problem at all.

If it doesn't help (the controls being reset), I may switch over to reading blogspot sites strictly through Firefox. BUT....I don't know how to set up favorites on Firefox. Can someone tell me?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

1 day later

I guess we always knew, when we adopted King, that we only had so much time with him. He was old when we adopted him but we didn't care. We fell in love with him & knew he was the one to complete our family. He was about 10 years old (not sure exactly) when we adopted him over a year ago, so now he would've been around 11.

When we adopted King, the rescue group's listing called him a Collie/Chow/Keeshund mix. Upon researching all these breeds, we believe he looks most like the pictures we've seen of Keeshunds. A vet he saw about 6 weeks ago leaned more toward calling him a Chow, but the truth is, he was a mixed breed. We don't really care what he was though...he was precious & truely changed the lives of my kids.

You see, Sarah was terrified of ALL dogs before King came into our lives. After falling in love with King, she's grown past her fears.

Samuel was less scared than Sarah & more skiddish/nervous around them. After meeting King & caring for him these past 15-ish months, he is 100% comfortable around all dogs.

And our sweet Savannah fell deeper for King than probably any of the rest of us. You see, when we had our last dog (Coco, a lab), it was her face that Coco bit. After that night of going to the ER for stitches, we got rid of Coco. I think Savannah always felt "responsible" for having to get rid of Coco and there was a hole in her heart (because she really loved Coco!). When King came along and we brought him home, she was head over heels in love before she went to bed the first night.

In the past year (give or take), King has blessed us with his sweet, sweet, sweet dimeanor. He was gentle & kind. He barked about once a month (seriously), never ran, never jumped. He went camping with us and rode to the schools to pick up the kids in the afternoons with me. We'll never forget the day that he hopped out of the van when the door opened for the kids to get in. Thankfully he didn't go anywhere...he just wanted to see what all those kids were doing! :) He's been for more walks than I can count and has touched all our hearts with his sweet nature. EVERY child in the neighbhorhood loved King & they're equally crushed about his death.

Today was easier than yesterday & I know tomorrow will be easier than today. One way or the other, we're going to get through this and come out better on the other side. We are blessed for having known King at all.

Thank you for all the sweet emails & comments here and on Facebook.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

RIP King

Today when we got home from church, we noticed that King didn't seem right. We weren't sure what it was, but something was up. He was breathing really fast and was slower to get up than usual. When he walked across the yard & pee'd blood we knew something was really wrong. We offered him a treat and he just looked at it like he didn't know what to do with it. He did finally take part of it in his mouth, but he chewed on it & it fell out of his mouth. For a dog that lives to get treats, we knew there was a VERY BIG problem. Larry went inside & called the vet and got instructions on where to take him (vet ER). We got a blanket & put it into the car for him to lay on while the kids led him around to the front yard on a leash. He didn't make it to the car before he layed down. The kids all sat down on the ground around him & pet on him and started crying because they were scared. Larry went over & nodded to me that something was wrong, so I joined the rest of them and we realized that King was dying. He had his head in Savannah's lap and all three kids were crying...Savannah was screaming uncontrollably "King, no! King, don't die!" the whole time, but King just slowly faded away.

He was surrounded by his family, stroked & loved til the very last breath. We wrapped him in a blanket that I made for Sarah several years ago & Larry took him to my parents' house (they have a lot of land) to bury him. None of the kids could bear the idea of being there to see him put in the ground, so we stayed here. It's been nearly 2 hours now and it's only been in the past 20 min that the screaming sobs have calmed.

We're heartbroken at the loss of our sweet boy, King. Prayers for our family, especially the kids, are deeply appreciated.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hannah Montana movie

My eldest child asked me to post a review of the Hannah Montana movie that we saw here goes. First, here is a trailer for the movie:

If you haven't heard of Hannah Montana, you must be living under a rock. Wait.....maybe there are some rock-dwellers reading this & that sounds offensive. ha ha! Seriously, here's the story.

Miley Cyrus (Billy Ray Cyrus's daughter) is a teen pop/country star right now has a TV show where she plays Miley Stewart. (Yes, her character's first name is the same as her own.) Her character is a pop star, who wants to maintain a 'regular' teen life in her Southern California home, so by day she is herself--Miley Stewart -- but at night, she can live her celebrity pop star life under a different name & identity--Hannah Montana. Hannah wears a blonde wig & flashier clothes than Miley, so she's able to pull off the double life without people knowing.

On the TV show, she has moved to California from Tennessee where she lived in the country on a farm with her family. She's always enjoyed singing so when her mom dies, her remaining family (father, brother & her) move to California for her to pursue her career in music. That's where the double life comes in.

The movie is the same as her TV show -- same characters & storyline. She has gotten a little out of hand & diva-ish, so her dad decides that it's time to go home (to Tennessee) for a couple weeks & do a "Hannah detox". She thinks she's going to New York & is shocked when she steps off the plane & sees a cow in the pasture.

The movie follows Miley through 2 weeks of country-fied humor & family togetherness as Miley moves from bratty pop star to girl who finds her love for the country & all the people there once again. The question arises---does she go back to California & pursue her life as Hannah/Miley or does she give it all up & return to her 'home' and leave Hannah behind for good?

I won't tell you how the movie ends, but suffice it to say......if you're even half a fan of Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus, you'll love the movie. It's very clean & sweet.

What a great day.

Larry & I often take a nap on Saturday and/or Sunday. Once in a while, we take the kids and go to a movie and have popcorn for "lunch". Occasionally we sleep really late on the weekend. Every now & then, one of the kids goes to spend the night with a friend. But you know what? That never happens all in one weekend!!! Today it did!

Last night, Savannah went to spend the night with my niece. This morning I stayed in bed til 10:00am. That's seriously some kind of record. I *NEVER* stay in bed that late. Ever! We had 1:00 tickets to see the Hannah Montana movie with the kids. And when we got home from the movie (sitting in the cool dark theater always makes me drowsy), we layed down for a quick nap. (but it hardly counts since I only dozed off & was up again in 30 minutes' time)

I made homemade pizza for supper after everyone brought me their sheets (it was sheet-changing day) and I'm about to go clean both bathrooms. So I guess it wasn't totally a lazy day, but it sure was a blissful one!!!

Thank you Lord for lazy days. ahhhhhh!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Another church visit update!

Just to clarify things:
Rose Heights (RH) is the church we just left
Bethel (B) is the church we attended before RH (I've also referred to Bethel as our "old-old" church.)
AG is the church we visited Wednesday night.

I'm sure you remember my post after leaving RH, stating that we planned to go back to B because we were comfortable there, have a history & relationships there, etc. We went to B last Sunday morning (Easter) and left feeling great about it! Early this week, however, Savannah expressed a fear/nervousness about going to B on Wed night for youth group because she doesn't know anyone there. The other kids had both said similar things--that they didn't know anyone there-- earlier in the week. Larry & I started talking & feeling like maybe we'd pushed our visit to B a little too much. Perhaps he & I loved the church, but needed to consider that the kids didn't love it as much as we did because they were too young to remember the people there. Maybe the kids should be allowed to visit somewhere here in our little town so that they would be more likely to meet kids from school.

And so, on Wednesday night, we went to AG. Samuel LOVED it and the rest of my family left feeling "ok" about it. They enjoyed it, but they weren't jumping up & down excited about it. I, on the other hand, felt like every nerve in my body was firing when we walked out. There wasn't a particular specific thing that I could point to and say "I didn't like THIS", but I felt like God was screaming to me at the top of His lungs "This is NOT the place!!!!". I didn't want to disappoint the kids or Larry by not liking the place, but it took every ounce of my being to remain seated throughout the service & not running screaming from the building. The people were nice, the lesson was good, everyone welcomed us....but still, God was shoving me out the door long before it was open for me to walk through. After the kids went to bed that night, I broke down crying & told Larry that I just couldn't go back. The way I left there feeling was too overwhelming for me to let go of. He told me that he trusts my instincts & would not ask me to return to a place that left me feeling that strongly. He's friends of the pastor & while we like him & enjoyed his teaching, it's just not the right place for us.

And interestingly enough, after attending a closer church for the sole reason of helping the kids to meet more school friends at church, it turns out that of all three kids, only 1 of our kids saw someone from school. He saw ONE friend from school. Everyone else was new. So our plan didn't hold water!

(Well......let me take that back. Savannah saw 1 girl she recognized as well, but this same girl is one that Savannah had to turn in to the principal recently at school, one who had threatened to beat her up & clearly, that would not be a friendship we'd want her to pursue!)

So Larry & I talked about churches & the kids programs at all the churches we had considered visiting. No matter what church we go to, Sunday School will be pretty much the same -- a lesson, a game or some fun activity to back up the lesson. Children's church will be about the same -- fun music & a lesson of some kind. Wednesday night programs may vary in title, but they'll all be similar --- games, a lesson, maybe a snack. And for Savannah, youth groups will all be similar as well -- loud music, some weird kids/some normal kids, snacks, fun activities, day trips to places like Six Flags, etc. We also discussed the fact that no matter where we go, the kids will have to adjust to new people, new teachers, make new unless they are teaching something reallyyyyyy weird, ultimately the decision should belong to Larry and I as far as which church we choose.

Because Larry & I love B (our old-old church) so much, we've decided to go back there. And stay. The kids will be fine. After attending SS & services there for a couple weeks, they'll meet people and start settling in, just like they would anywhere else!

We're looking forward to getting back into Bethel and to meeting all the new people who've joined since we left 4 1/2 years ago. I'm so excited!!!! I hate church 'shopping', so figuring this out & being settled on it so quickly feels GOOD!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Church-going update and tonight's big event

After visiting our old-old church on Sunday (see previous post if you don't know what I'm referring to!), Larry & I left feeling quite positive about our experience, even though we didn't get to see much. We felt very welcomed and enjoyed the reunion that we had with old friends. We left feeling like we could see ourselves sticking around there. As we talked to the kids, no one had a particular strong feeling about it one way or the other (minus Samuel who would not have been happy anywhere). The girls were OK and enjoyed things, but they weren't leaping from their seats begging to go back either. It was just "alright".

As the days have passed, we've gotten little bits & pieces of comments from them here & there and we're realizing that we may have pushed to visit that particular church because Larry & I loved it so much. You see, we wanted to go back for all the relationships we had there. The kids, however, were so young when we left that they remember something about the buildings...but not the people. I've watched tears fall in the past couple days because they've told me "we don't know anyone there!". Truth be told, there aren't a lot of kids from our school district at that they really don't know anyone. My heart's been sad that the church we love so much might not be the right one for us anymore.

Larry & I talked this afternoon. We did have 1 other church in mind to visit. It's right here in town, 5 minutes from home. He visited there once last summer when we were on vacation & couldn't go to our own church. He loved it that one day, but the rest of us have never been there.

1. It's SO close to home.
2. It's here in our little small town, so there are bound to be tons of kids from our kids' schools there and that would certainly make it easier for them to feel comfortable.
3. Samuel's teacher goes to this church!
4. Larry knows the pastor personally & feels comfortable with him.
5. They have the same Royal Rangers/Missionettes program on Wed nights that Samuel & Sarah are used to, so they could make a pretty smooth transition from our old church to a new one. They loved these programs & I think it would make the transition easier for them to have something 'familiar' to go to right off the bat.
6. I've been told great things about the youth group there.

1. I've never been there & don't really like change. Comfort & ease of transition are a big thing for me. (I know.....boohoo, get over it.)

And so, tomorrow night, we're going to visit the local church instead. Say a prayer that it goes well for us!

On to tonight's event!
Savannah was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society. I think Larry & I were more excited for her than she was. She just sort of endured the ceremony tonight. I was really impressed with the lengthy list of projects the group's sponsor talked about during the program & am excited to see Savannah get involved! Blood drives, toys bought for needy kids at Christmas, teacher & principal appreciation days, backpacks for needy kids...the list was long. Anyway, I think it'll be a great thing for her and once she gets involved, I think she'll really enjoy it. Here are the pictures I took.
This is the whole group of 7th graders who were inducted tonight.
Here is Savannah, shaking hands with the Principal to receive her certificate of induction.
...and coming back to her seat.
Savannah & her proud Daddy after the program.
Savannah & my niece, who was also inducted tonight.
We're so proud of you, baby girl!!! Way to go!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter 2009

Today we ventured to church out for the first time since leaving the church where Larry has been on staff for the past 4 1/2 years. I have a hard time calling it "our old church" because it was just 2 weeks ago that we were there. But I guess that's really what it is now. Our old church. Hmm....I may have to say that a few more times before it feels right. Anyway... today we went to our old church. about that? Not the one that we just left, but the church we attended for 7 or 8 years before Larry went into full time ministry at "our old church". Geez...that's getting confusing isn't it? Anyway, I hope you are following me on that. We talked this afternoon & I told Larry that I thought it was both ironic & poetic & sweet (all at once) that we chose today to begin this new journey. Being Easter Sunday...which symbolizes new life & new beginnings...and we find ourselves starting a new (church) journey. Neat, huh?

Anyway, there was confusion about whether or not there would be Sunday School this morning, so we just went to the service at 10:30. Unfortunately when we left the house, one of my rear tires was nearly flat, so we went to the gas station to air it up & pushed ourselves late arriving at the church. We still got there on time, but once we got the kids checked into their childrens' church area & made our way to the sanctuary, we saw a few people & talked a bit on the way...and voila, we were late. We walked in just in time to hear the last 2 praise & worship songs. That was a bummer because I had really been looking forward to the P&W favorite part of a church service. Anyway, we got in on the last bit of that, then the pastor preached. We really liked his teaching.

Since we left this church in late 2004, the (then) pastor has left & they hired the new guy who we heard today. Larry's met him a few times and I've interacted with him on Facebook, but today was the first time I've actually seen him face to face. I was impressed. He brought a very good sermon. The worship leader came back on stage & led the congregation in a couple more songs before the service ended. Poof. That quick, it was over. It was odd to be in a service that ended at 11:45. We're used to being in the church building til somewhere around 12:30 at least. It's a nice change.

After speaking to a couple more people on the way out (we were swarmed by people eager to welcome us back), we were the last ones to pick up our younger kids from the childrens' church room. Oops. Thankfully the people working in there knew us & understood what was going on, so no one was upset. (Whew!)

On the way home, we asked the kids for their opinions on the church. Of course, we were only there for 1 service, so it's hard to get any sort of impression of the church based on that....but everyone was happy. Well, almost. Samuel is not happy that we're looking for a new church. He doesn't get that we can't go back to the 'old church'. He wants to just keep things the same. He's not a big fan of change. None of us are, but we're learning as we go. He would've said that Disneyland was "no fun" this morning, so when he told me that he didn't like this church today, I wasn't really surprised. We're going back on Wednesday night. It will take a while for all of us to get used to doing something new. Nothing is set in stone yet as far as where we'll go to church long-term, but today was a good first start.

We came home & had a YUMMY lunch of ham & cheese sandwiches & devilled eggs with lemon fluff for dessert. I had a HORRIBLE headache so after we ate, we had some quiet time & I zonked out. (poor Larry spent 2 hours at Walmart having our TWO rear tires fixed while the rest of us rested.....yes, by the time we got home the OTHER tire was also flat...we picked up a nail going to/from church today in the tire that was fine this morning!) When I got up, Larry got home. We hid eggs (in the living room because it was raining outside) & let the kids hunt them and then followed that up with a Bible lesson with the Resurrection eggs. For supper we had a roast with potatoes & carrots and rolls and then made our Resurrection rolls for dessert. They included yet another Bible lesson. I love applying truth to everyday things...and the Resurrection rolls are YUMMY!

All in all, it was a GREAT day! Here are the pictures!

First...these are the eggs the kids dyed yesterday.

Overnight, they magically turned into devilled eggs. YUM! I swear, I could eat this whole plate!

This morning, the kids woke up to these baskets:

Yes, I realize they all look a lot alike. They all know that there is no Easter bunny. We never pretended that he was real from the time they were tiny babies on. They know what Easter is REALLY about but this is just a fun thing we do. They told us last year that they liked getting a new magazine, so we decided to stick with easy baskets this year!

Getting ready for church:

Savannah took this one of Larry & I.'s not flattering. Of course, if you're shorter than the subjects you're taking a pic of, it just can't turn out good, can it?

These are the Resurrection Eggs that we use at Easter to remind the kids of the real meaning of the day. Each egg contains one item that represents something related to Jesus's death & resurrection. There is a little book that goes with the eggs. You read each section to describe what's in the egg & there is Scripture to go along with each one. We love them!

These are the Resurrection Rolls (prior to baking). You take a big marshmallow (Jesus's body) & roll it in melted butter (the oils used to anoint His body) and cinnamon/sugar (the spices used to preserve his body) and then roll them inside a crescent roll (the cloths used to wrap his body). Then you cook them in the oven (the tomb). When they're done, the marshmallow (Jesus) is gone, but you can still smell & taste it (Him). It's a fun & tasty way to teach kids about Jesus's burial & resurrection.

I hope your family enjoyed Easter & that you were able to remember the real reason for the holiday --- not the bunnies & candy & baby chicks, but the bodily resurrection of Jesus that our faith is built on! God bless!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fri morning

Whew. The morning's done & now we can move onto the weekend. :)

Savannah saw the orthodontist and is now looking all Spring-y in her pink & green rubber bands. Very cute!

We went to 2 stores & found new church shoes for Samuel & Sarah in between the 2 doc appointments. It was a quick trip to Target & Payless, but we pulled it off & still made it to the 2nd appointment on time.

You may've already seen this on Facebook. If so, just disregard this.

We saw the ENT today. Samuel is scheduled for surgery on Wed April 29th. He's having another set of tubes put in & his adenoids removed.

Our insurance (through the church) only runs through the end of April, so we're covered through the 30th! Talk about cutting it close! We're really glad we moved the date of his appointment w/ the ENT up! This was his ONLY open spot in the surgery schedule til mid-May and I suspect it would've been taken already if we'd waited til the 21st {the original appointment date} to schedule things! Thank you, Lord, for working out the details!!

The surgery is on Wednesday so I'm planning on Samuel & I taking off the rest of that week from work/school. Of course, if he feels great the next day, we'll get back to life sooner. I guess we'll see!

Now........onto Easter weekend!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Looking forward to the weekend!

I really enjoy Easter weekend with my family, but before we get there, we have to get through tomorrow morning.

At 8:45, Savannah goes to the orthodontist for her monthly adjustment. She'll be in & out within an hour. And then we have to find something to kill time til about 10:30. Anybody free & want to get together for an hour of ....something?

At 10:40, we're going to Samuel's ENT appointment. You may remember that we went to see him back in February because of Samuel's chronic recurrent ear infections. He had this same problem as a baby/toddler & he ended up having tubes put in when he was about 2. He kept the tubes for about 18 months before we had to go back in & surgically remove one of them that refused to fall out on its own. That was about 5 1/2 years ago now & he's done fine during that time, but last year he started having recurrent infections all over again. In February, the doc said he "qualifies" for another set of tubes, but rather than going straight to that, he put him on a steroid nose spray for 2 months to see if that would clear up any inflammation in his ears & fix the problem. We've used it religiously & hasn't fixed the problem. Last Friday he was diagnosed with another bilateral ear infection. Tomorrow morning we go back for the follow-up appt & I suspect we'll be scheduling surgery. It's fine. I know it'll help him. We just need to get a move on & have it done quickly. Our insurance runs out at the end of April....and doesn't resume til Aug. 1st! yikes! Lord I hope we don't have any broken arms or legs (or anything else!) all summer!

Speaking of those check ups, here are the stats for my sweet back-to-back babies:
Samuel (who turned 9 on 3/29) weighs 53.6 lbs & is 46.75" tall. Sarah (who turned 8 on 2/15) weighs 71.4 lbs & is 49.25" tall. can tell which one takes after my mother in law's side of the family. (She's 4'9" & both of her parents were right at 5'.)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Ready, Set.......


I kinda feel like we're standing on the edge of a big diving board, looking out into this swimming pool that has very little water....and trusting God to close our eyes & JUMP. Sometimes you just can't explain God and you can't really wrap your mind around what He's got up His sleeve. Tomorrow is the beginning of one of those times.

Larry begins his new job in the morning. We're obeying God while watching the clouds & wondering what HE's up to.

And you know what? He keeps reminding us of His presence. We continue to see "our" doves just about every day. The most significant day was last Sunday morning after we stood before the church & announced our departure. When we pulled into the driveway, before we even got out of the cars, Savannah pointed into the tree & said "LOOK!". Our doves...what has represented the presence of the Spirit of God to us for the past 6 weeks or so....were perched on the limb waiting for us.

Thank you, Lord, for a very visible symbol of your presence. We love you.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

School of Social Dancing 2008-09

A couple of years ago when my nephew was in 7th grade, my sister signed him up for a class that sounded SO cool. She told us about it after it was all over. I could've sworn she told me that they learned ballroom dancing, table etiquette (which fork to use!) and a few other things. I mean...what 12/13 yr old boy couldn't use a class like that? I loved the idea! She gave me the info about who teaches the class & I tucked it away in my mind thinking that it would be great to see Savannah take this same class when she reached the right age. Last summer, my sister called & said "if you want to sign her up, this is the week to do it!". I made the phone call & added her name to the list & then waited.

As it turns out, the lady who teaches the class is an ex-teacher at the school where I work. She still subs for us from time to time. Last spring, I had the chance to talk to her about the class & get a little more info. As it turns out, she doesn't teach the table etiquette end of things like I thought, but she does teach social etiquette. Dancing is the biggest portion of the class. Although it wasn't quite what I thought it would be, we signed Savannah up and I'm so glad we did. Funny thing... I know we would've never convinced her to go if my niece wasn't also going (the little sister to my nephew who went a couple of years ago).

And so, last Fall, right after football season, the classes began. Every Friday night for an hour, 7th graders from all over our area have met for a social dance class. They learned how to waltz & cha cha & do the fox trot. They learned a few line dances. They learned how to 2-step and they learned some other dances that I can't remember the names of. But more importantly, they learned how to be around boys/girls without acting like typical 7th graders. I realize taking this class doesn't negate the fact that they're still 12 & 13 year olds, but it sure helps because now they have a standard to operate by.

Each time they had a class, they began by sitting in chairs in a big circle & the boys had to approach a girl & ask her to dance. The rule was that you can't turn anyone down. The reason for this is because if you didn't do it, sooner or later some little boyfriend/girlfriend or boy/girl buddies would pal up & never dance with anyone else. The teacher wanted all of the kids to dance with everyone at some point. Throughout each dance, she would call out that it was time to switch & one boy would start the chain of cutting in on another couple. That boy would then go cut in on another couple & so on til everyone had a new dance partner. At the end of the night, the boys had to link arms with the girls & walk them to their car, open the door for them, greet the parents & say goodnight politely before they could walk away. The whole idea of the class is to teach the boys & girls how to behave around each other in a social situation before they reach a dating age.

Although Savannah still finished up the year feeling pretty ambivalent about boys in general, at least she finally reached a point that she'd dance with them without gagging & acting like we'd asked her to eat dirt.

Tonight was the final class, only this was done a little more "special" than the rest of the year's classes. It was at a local hall that is commonly rented to hold proms & weddings. The kids did the same thing they've been doing in class all year, but this time the parents were invited to come watch the 'show'. At the end of the night, there was a Mother/Son & a Father/Daughter dance. So sweet! Here are a few pictures I took tonight.