Saturday, December 26, 2009

a wonderful life

Today was just awesome. We spent a quiet day enjoying the kids and their excitement. Well, quiet might not be the best choice of word. There is now a wii Beatles Rockband setup in our family room and it has gotten much use today. William got a ton of baseball stuff, Jordan got her beloved itouch and has already downloaded the free texting app, and Grace has her first American Girl doll. We are blessed beyond our needs to say the least.

Tonight Grace was saying her prayers. I love prayertime. It's the sweetest part of the day. I used to encourage them to list everyone in the family, but as the years have gone by I am 100% in favor of letting them pray what is on their hearts and minds. They've taught me so much through this.

So, back to Grace. After praying for her five year old thoughts, she got toward the end of her prayer. All of a sudden she burst into song singing:

Happy Birthday to You!
Happy Birthday to You!
Happy Birthday dear Jesus!
Happy Birthday to you!


She sang at the top of her lungs. Then she went straight into closing the prayer. She looked up at me and said, " I just couldn't let the day end without singing it to HIM one more time!

God knew what he was doing when he made me a parent to this little lively spirit. She teaches me a lesson everytime!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

thankful

Some thanksgiving stuff came off the wall and made it into William's backpack yesterday. I had to laugh when I read what the little thankful message said on his leaf:

I am thankful for
my Dad and Mom.
I would not be born if
they weren't married.


Well, you can't argue with that!

sometimes the mundane gets you

OK, I want to commiserate with you. The holidays are here...filled with good cheer...yada, yada, yada. Right? Can you answer these questions below and make me feel better?

1. What does your "to do" list look like right now? Is it never-ending or can you see the light at the end of the tunnel?

2. What is your favorite part of the holidays?

3. If your kids are in school..well, tell me if you remember so much activity and craziness surrounding this last week before the break.

I'm off to the bus stop right now after a busy day at the school and appointments. I'll have to think about my answers. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment. Here is something to help us all get in the spirit:

Friday, December 11, 2009

linkville

One of my friends reminded me this week of how she enjoyed seeing what other people posted as important links on their blogs and facebook pages. I don't take an old school newspaper unless I want the coupons. Besides books I am studying, my learning happens on the web. I'm probably not alone in this form of information consumption. Much of my world revolves around the people I am connected to and the tasks I need to finish by email or otherwise.

I enjoy reading other blogs and newsfeeds. There are some great writers out there and often I see ideas that really stimulate my ideas when I am off the computer. It's often helpful and encouraging. Obviously they are not official resources for writing term papers or verifying medical accuracy, but if you haven't set up a blog feed through one of the services I encourage you to do so. It is a great way to customize your reading material.

Two links that I found interesting this week were from blogs you might enjoy also:

"Robin Raskin's Raising Digital Kids" is an awesome resource if you are parenting a child. In a former life I developed children's software so I've found it a wonderful collection of ideas to supplement our homelife.

Raising Digital Kids

You might be surprised to find a blog called "GeekDad" in my blogroll. It is written by a collection of writers who work for Wired Magazine - some women, some men - who offer a great selection of new ideas and thoughts on "Raising Geek Generation 2.0". After all, our kids are certainly the first set of kids who have wired parents. Here is a recent article on something called a sugarstick...it looks like a thumbdrive, but is proposed as a way to bring computing to kids around the world in a different way.

GeekDad

And, lest you think I am a total techie, let me offer a blog which has intrigued me recently. It's Pioneer Woman by Ree Drummond. She's just a career woman who fell in love with a rancher and moved to the further regions of land ownership and cattle rustling. Know why I'm intrigued? She's like a renaissance woman. She takes awesome photos and features photoshop tutorials in one area of her blog. The next blog post might be some yummy recipe or photos of her basset hound making funny faces. She's wickedly funny and she just wrote a cookbook that is wildly popular. I like her and I haven't even met her. Now, that's good. Here is a link to her homepage:

The Pioneer Woman

We are off to spend a weekend full of Christmas cheer and craziness. Dave has his barbershop shows all weekend - The Big Chicken Chorus: Have yourself a Merry-etta Christmas! and the kids have a sweet play at church which is guaranteed to be fun to watch. Tonight we have a company party for Dave's work. Did I mention the other thousand things that need to be done for the holidays? 'Tis the season, right?

Have a great weekend yourself. Let me know what you think about the links and what you are doing this weekend. I'm interested.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

out of the mouths

If I were smart, I would record all the funny comments these kids of mine make each day. Every day there is an observation from a young point of view. And usually those comments come with perfect comic timing...not always my preferred timing, but my three are always expressing their opinion on something. It runs in the family I guess.

I'm trying to remember more of these moments. Here's one that happened in the van last week. We were traveling around town. I often put in a cd of stories. Amazingly the kids seem to enjoy it. They normally quieten down and listen the the storyline. I've done this with Peter Rabbit, Magic Treehouse, Little House on the Prairie, and others through the years. It's good entertainment without the mom guilt. The library has a huge selection of them. Recently Wendy's gave out books on cd for happy meal toys. I was all over that. So much better than some plastic thing I trip over and eventually throw away.

I had a Jigsaw Jones Book playing through the CD player. As a sideline to the mystery, a father comes into the kitchen for dinner and gives the mother a big kiss. Grace pipes up loudly and says,

"I don't really mind when you give Daddy a big, sloppy kiss."

To which I replied, "Oh, you don't???"

Now at this moment I had expected Grace to spout about how loving our family was, or how much our marriage meant to her happiness, or something angelic. Instead, in a loud, dry, almost cynical voice I hear these words:

"Naaaah....it's really none of MY business!"

And then I laughed pretty hard. That girl is funny even when she is not trying!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

second grade for the second time



So it seems that five years ago we were doing a "first" big project in our household. Jordan created a salt clay map of Georgia and it's regions. That was my introduction to the world of big kid projects that take over the kitchen.

Here we are in 2009 and William is now my second grader. William is awesome. He doesn't stress about much and views schoolwork as "something to be done before I hop on my bike or try scooter tricks." That's it. Really, second-born children have it made in this department. But one afternoon 10 days ago he came in talking his head off about this project:

Creek/Cherokee Project

He was talking so fast that I couldn't even understand him. Thankfully his teacher had the foresight to think about dropping us parents an email to warn us about about the incoming project assignment. It helped...it really helped me not drop my jaw to the ground in front of the children. Kids get scared when Mom does that.

It was just finished tonight. The last tree, last little roof, and most importantly, the fires. As long as I live I will remember William busily folding a red pipe-cleaner and announcing, "You know Mom, I'm really, really good at starting fires." That kind of comment will wake you up!



Here are the lessons learned from all this:

1. You can have two children go through the same school, same grade and the project will ALWAYS be different. The teachers must plan this on purpose..."You know that second McD kid is coming through. Let's let Ann really work for her motherhood degree this year!"

2. It is incredibly nerve-wracking to set an eight year old boy loose with acrylic paint. So much so that I made him strip to his underwear as he was painting the sky. We were doing just fine until Grace walked up and started offering her five year old comments. That's when her clothing came way too close to the brotherly hand holding the paint that defies all laundry attempts.

3. Sponges are a much better painting tool for a second grader than a brush. William managed to paint his sky with mixed shades of blue and it actually looked pretty good. I cut the sponge up into one inch pieces, dampened them, and then squeezed the paint on a paper plate.

4. Hot glue is a little advanced for little hands (No, I did not find this out the hard way...I knew this one after five years building architectural models.), but it is the best thing to hold the impossible in place, quickly. I had to help with the actual gluing, but William directed where he wanted every little drop.

5. William decided to flip his shoebox up side down so that the lid would make a bigger and better "base". It was something I never even though of and he was right. It worked out beautifully.

7. Moss makes amost any tree, garden plant, or shrub you will ever need. Birch sticks from Mom's flower arrangement work well if you can talk her into using them all.

6. Sculpey clay is a marvelous thing, but I advise all of you parents of younger kids to start training them with playdoh skills now. Playdoh was the only thing that William would sit still for as a three year old so I made sure he got lots of practice there. I can't believe it paid off...or should I admit that I can't believe the boy made it to the age of eight. (Those of you who knew William in his speed demon years will understand what I am talking about.) Sculpey was a great material to make the base of the houses. Once baked they almost looked authentic. I've been cleaning out my craft stuff so I was luck to have a packaged from a few years ago that was still perfectly good.

Every situation in motherhood requires you to know just how much to help and just how much to let them do by themselves. I'm so proud that William knew exactly what he wanted to do and how he wanted to build it. He just didn't know much about the hot glue, sculpey clay, and the dangers of acrylic paint around sisters and clothing. I'm thrilled that he succeeded tonight. I'm thrilled he's done.

Ah, second grade. Maybe one day I'll pass you.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

did you hear crickets?

So everytime you checked my blog you found nothing? nada? zip?
{chirp, chirp, chirp}
You rolled your eyes and thought about how lazy I was?
{chirp, chirp, chirp}
Mad because I left you hanging with big promises of our latest adventure?
{chirp, chirp, chirp}
I'm guilty!

Life just keeps rolling by and I am hanging on dearly to all of these moments. So much has happened since spring break last April. Most of you have kept up with me on Facebook. I'll admit, it's much easier to post an idea in my status there and get immediate gratification from all of you. But the sad truth is that I don't have any records of all that quick fun. There is no way to save a status history on Facebook. It occurred to me this week how sad that really was.

So, take heart, you'll be able to laugh with (or at?) me soon. I'll get my ideas in order and soon be back to posting. Am I giving up Facebook? No way, but it feels good to record some memories to keep. More mundane magic to come, less cricket chirps.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

spring break 2009

Here we are at the end of the school year. Seems like once spring break occurs that the days go by quickly filled with end of the year activities and madness. I look at my three children and I can see that each of them has grown and changed through the year...mentally and physically. It's a good feeling.

Although the year is only half gone, I believe that the trip we took in April will remain as one of the great memories of 2009. It marked a vacation milestone for us as a family. Jordan, headed solidly into 7th grade next year, will only be with us for a few years before she'll be headed to college or elsewhere in her teenage mind. William is 7.5 and completely fascinated with learning new things and putting ideas together in his head. Little Grace is no longer a baby...and she's racing to keep up with her older siblings, having no problem with making her comments along the way. No more baby strollers to tote, we have kids that can walk their own suitcase to the hotel room. It was a great year to travel.

So when people now ask how our spring break was I can barely even begin to tell them a concise version of the trip. We had three kiddos who gladly traveled 2,630 miles with us and were willing to have new experiences each day without reserve. By the end of the trip I had a new respect for how far we had come as a family. Our initial purpose in making the trip was to see Dave's Aunt Libby who lives in Pennsylvania. She is the only sister of Dave's late mother and we've always been close. She's never been able to meet Grace in person so we thought this would be the perfect year to make it happen. I'm sure you are wondering why we headed to Texas instead of Pennsylvania. We were actually willing to go either way, but Aunt Libby was already heading to Texas to see her oldest grandson for Easter so it made more sense to head toward the SW. We felt so fortunate to have the chance to see Dave's cousin, Joshua and his awesome wife, Claudia. So as we planned the trip it occurred to us that there were a lot of other things to do and people to see along the way. It became a sort of 'friends and family tour' that the kids have not stopped talking about yet.

I thought posting our itinerary would be a way to begin the trip posts. That will help you understand why Dave and my tongues are still hanging out.

Friday, April 3 - Traveled from Atlanta to Mobile, ate an awesome dinner on the Mobile Bay at Ed's; Traveled through Mississippi, then Louisiana; Visited Auburn and Navy buddies, the Batsons, in Mandeville, LA.

Saturday, April 4 - Crossed Lake Pontchartrain into New Orleans, LA to spend a quick morning. Ate breakfast at Cafe du Monde, saw Regis and Kelly with their paparazzi as we ate there, walked a quick tour along the river and then headed out of town. Traveled through Louisiana, stopped in Houston for dinner and a quick visit with Dave's cousin, Sue, then arrived in San Antonio, TX.

Sunday, April 5 - Decided to visit Oak Hills Church and see Max Lucado speak; Toured the Riverwalk eating awesome Mexican food, rode the river cruise boats, saw the Alamo and went swimming.

Monday, April 6 - Last minute details in San Antonio, then headed towards Austin, TX. First stop was Lance Armstrong's bike shop, Mellow Johnny's. Next was lunch at the famous Chuys, Drive by of the state capitol, visit to the Lyndon Baynes Johnson Presidential Library, then onto Waco, TX to see our friends, The Kings.

Tuesday, April 7 - Who knew Waco had so much to do? First we saw the mammoths and other cool stuff at the Mayborn Museum on Baylor's campus. Next was the Dr. Pepper Museum and then finally a trip to the Cameron Park Zoo. After dinner we followed Ryan to his wetlands studies and saw one of the most beautiful sunsets while Ryan showed the kids how scientists study wildlife and gather specimens to study.

Wednesday, April 8 - We got a tour of Ryan's lab space, complete with a lesson or two about the wetlands animals and insects...and some incredible things Ryan has collected on trips to Alaska and Guyana. We then headed up towards Dallas to Plano, TX to the home of Dave's cousins, The Smeltzers. This was the initiative for the whole trip and we were thrilled to be with their family, along with Aunt Libby and Uncle Herb.

Thursday, April 9 - The Sixth Floor Museum which tells about how JFK was assassinated. Lunch in downtown Dallas and then off to Ft. Worth to see the running of the longhorn cattle at The Stockyards.

Friday, April 10 - We took a picnic to the beautiful Dallas Arboretum and later enjoyed an Easter dinner together with our families.

Saturday, April 11 - Brunch and an Easter Egg Hunt at Josh and Claudia's church. Our intention had been to head back to Georgia at this point, but I had a great uncle pass away in North Alabama so we made an unexpected detour. By late afternoon we were in Little Rock, Arkansas eating some incredible seafood and riding the trolleys.

Sunday, April 12 - We headed towards Memphis, Tennessee. Enjoyed a lunch stop for BBQ and then arrived in North Alabama that afternoon to stay with my parents and celebrate my youngest niece's 3rd birthday.

Monday, April 13 - Celebrating Uncle Raymond's 97 years of life and seeing lots of relatives at the funeral. We headed back to Georgia that night and back to life in our own beds.

Have I exhausted you with our adventures? Just wait until I show and tell more!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

the city by the bay



We've recently returned from the most awesome spring break trip. It was a blast visiting friends and family and we were able to see and do so much with the kids. I am still marveling at the fun we had with our big kids. So wonderful to be at this new stage and making family memories. I am behind on blogging about the trip. Those of you who know about our epic journey are well aware of the number of things we did in 10 days and 2, 630 miles. I can't wait to tell you more about it. First though I am going to skip ahead and post about this past weekend.

While we were traveling on spring break across the state of Texas enjoying family time, Dave mentioned to me that he had a business trip to San Francisco in late April. It was a couple of nights away and he'd love it if I could join him. At first I laughed...when you have three kids, getting someone to shepherd them through a couple of school day activities is almost impossible. But grandparents are willing and I think they are the last of the great heroes in parenting. My mother stepped up to the plate and offered to run our crazy life for a few days so I could escape with my husband.

San Francisco was a place where we spent a lot of time in the 1990s. We lived in Monterey, California for almost three years and drove up and down the coast constantly for business and pleasure. It was an awesome time of life. The tech industry was going gangbusters, I worked in a publishing group that developed children's learning software, and Dave was being paid by the Navy to attend post-graduate school at NPS. Life was good. We lived in a little cottage only six blocks from the Monterey Bay. We could hear the seals barking at night and we didn't need screens on our windows because Monterey seemed to be almost pest free for most of the year. Northern California has a special place in our hearts.

So, the chance to escape with Dave and be a couple traveling without the wild family antics sounded pretty good. Time alone is rare. We've been married almost 19 years (in September) and we are still building our relationship. Trips like these are just the type of fun that can solidify an already good thing. Needless to say, my mother did not have to push us out the door!

First, I must say that packing a carry-on suitcase and a purse is liberating. I didn't have to pack for anyone else. Everything I needed was with me and I could move quickly through the airport. What a revelation for someone who packs for the whole family and any emergency that might happen unexpectedly with the kids. I think this is the lightest I have ever travelled and I loved it! Dave has this mastered since he is a platinum flier, but I was new to the concept since I am always having to check with the kids. Other than wishing I had one more sweater for variety, I managed to carry everything I needed. SF is a bit of a funky city so you can wear quirky combinations and fit right in...love that about SF.

We flew out Thursday afternoon, got our rental car, and headed to the Marriott near Union Square. Great digs and the location was perfect to walk around. That night we got dinner at Scala's, a nothern Italian restaurant. It had beautiful architecture and great lighting. We decided to share our meal family style so we could order and try more items. It was oh-so-perfect and romantic. After the late dinner we jumped on a street car and cuddled close on the chilly night enjoying the sights.

On Friday morning we hiked over past the Glide Memorial Church to find Dottie's True Blue Cafe. Problem was that Dottie's must have been incredible and had a long line to prove it. Dave had actual business to attend to that morning so we walked back toward the conference center and ate at Mel's Drive-In instead. Huervo Rancheros and fresh OJ were awesome there. I didn't feel guilty eating them since we had walked a big loop that morning. The Glide is one of my favorite parts of San Francisco. It's not a glamorous area at all. You will see homeless people everywhere (Think The Pursuit of Happyness) and it's a little dicey safety-wise. Back in 1994 or so I visited that church for a day and got to worship and work there with a group of designers. We were there with Graham Nash to help with a fundraising effort and to view the good things that congregation was doing to help families in need. It was a very powerful day for me. To be working side-by-side with some of the superstars of the design world to do something positive and hands-on was almost surreal. I feel blessed to have been part of a conference of people like that during the tech boom.

After breakfast Dave split off to go do business at his computer security conference. I was thrilled to have the chance to revisit the MOMA there near the Moscone Conference Center. After being there for only an hour or so I realized how much I love being at a museum surrounded by masterful art and thoughtful statements. All my years of art and architectural history came flooding back to me and I felt completely at home in that environment. Honest truth is that feeds my soul and for years I have neglected that fact. I came away inspired and happy.

Dave met me at the museum and suggested that we head over to his conference for the final keynote speech. He snuck me in -- security is tight at a computer security conference -- and so I got to see the MythBusters, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, live and in person. Very cool! They were talking about how their problem solving process works and discussing how to work with opposites in the tech environment. If you watch the show you quickly realize that they are very different people and debate a lot. They showed some very cool outtakes and other projects. They created a huge decoder machine and did some funny stuff with that involving the audience. I got a few very bad pictures from the audience. They whisked them away back stage so all of us would not storm the stage and crush them. ;-)



Friday afternoon we headed down to the newly renovated Ferry Building where a lovely marketplace has been set up. Our seatmate on our plane flight had suggested an Asian fusion restaurant down there called The Slanted Door. It was very popular with all the beautiful people, but they let us eat there anyway. Again we shared some glorious dishes and enjoyed the view of Treasure Island and the Bay Bridge.









After dinner we took our car and headed south to Redwood City to see the blues legend, James Cotton. at The Little Fox Theatre. Fabulous music and true blues playing at it's best. (The man had 25 harmonica harps to use during the concert!) For a moment we felt rather local again. I imagine we were the only tourist in the room and we had found a gem of a concert to attend. It was a blast.






On Saturday morning we were up before the crack of dawn to catch our flight. Please note for the record that we had enough time to enjoy a full breakfast and leisurely make our way to the plane before heading back to reality. What a gift to have had those two days together. Traveling has always been a huge part of our romance and relationship together...really from the beginning...so having a chance to renew that was magical.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

oprah and my best life

In January, Oprah launched the new year with a lovely week of inspiring ideas for each area of your life:

* your weight
* your health
* your spirit
* your money
* your sex life

My tivo captured the week's programming and I went to the effort to "save until I delete" so it wouldn't roll off the dvr's files. This was something important, something life changing, a wonderful way to start 2009...

Today was the first of April. I haven't had time...no made time...to watch those episodes. Each night I browse through the listings cleaning things up and I just can't bare to delete them yet. But still, what does that say about me? I suppose it says that my real life is causing me to delay my best life. No really, I've been doing good things with my time.

But if you see me a few months from now and I suddenly look ravishing you can assume I finally finished watching those first three episodes. If you see Dave smiling you can assume I watched the last two on the list.

Friday, March 20, 2009

something we are excited about...


Dave has been a bike rider forever, but this summer he began riding it to work. Gas prices were the initial impetus and then an improved fitness level became a wonderful side effect. The more he rode, the less stress he carried inside. It has been good for the body and soul. He rode into the winter months...and despite the fact that old man winter made riding impossible on the most frigid of days....he still loves it. Spring weather has hit here and it is just perfect for riding with the wind in your face.

A month or so ago Dave committed to riding a 100 mile fundraising ride for Multiple Sclerosis in Savannah, Georgia. He is riding with one of our close friends from church and thus far training is going well. The ride lasts for two days -- 65 on the first and 35 on the second. It's an exciting goal to set. Even more important is the fact that Dave gets to raise money for a disease which has affected on of his good friends in Redmond, WA. Dave is riding in Tim's honor. Follow this link to see Dave's ride page:

MS 100 Ride in Savannah

Take a moment and look it over. If you want to contribute I'm sure Dave would be thrilled.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

i'm a pepper


I have been researching some links for our upcoming spring break trip. This year we are doing something different. Usually we try to hit the beach with the kids. Realistically that was the best thing to do with little kids in tow...pack everything up, go to one place, and enjoy chasing toddlers and keeping everyone safe. Now we are getting to the stage where we have school aged kids. This year we are taking a bit of a friends and family tour - New Orleans, San Antonio, Waco, and Dallas. I'm really excited about the possibilities and convinced we may need a vacation from our vacation when we return. I hope this marks a new phase for us.

My friend Julie lives in Waco, TX. She and her husband are professors at Baylor University. They are friends we met while living in Maryland. Our boys were born just days apart and we even celebrated their first birthday together. Geez I need to wrangle up that video of the boys sitting in high chairs out on our patio with their faces covered in blue frosting. Oh yes, I digress...

Julie sent me links to the sights in Waco...and I spied this one on the list. When I went to the Dr. Pepper Museum website I had a memory appear in my head. It's a weird southern childhood memory. Not sure if any of you drank Dr. Pepper growing up, but the "10-2-4" mantra used to be printed on the glass bottles. I didn't get to drink soda that often so it was a big deal to me. I was allergic to Coke, but somehow Dr, Pepper didn't bother me.

I'm sure my mother was just trying to keep me still for a few moment while she got her frosted 70's updo, but going to the beauty shop was a big outing. I knew when we got to the shop that I would get to pick out a drink and a snack. What was number one on my hit parade? A Dr. Pepper and a bag of salted peanuts. I would take the peanuts, pour them into the Dr. Pepper bottle, and then drink my way to 6 year old happiness. The only thing that would have been better is to have indulged in the 10-2-4 fantasy...at least that is the way it seemed as a kid.

Guess I'll just have to rely on my DIET Dr. Pepper and my raw almonds to make me happy now. Ah, youth...

Thursday, March 05, 2009

february homework

Each month we get a calendar of fun things to do from William's first grade teacher. It is a group of seasonal and timely things which you can do to supplement their learning. Most are just fun everyday things that we've all forgotten in our busy lives. Things that first graders love to do with their family. They are required to do about 15 every month.

William has gotten quite good about tackling some of the items on his own. He is very conscientious about his homework and will often take the list down and do them while I am fixing dinner, etc. It is a common sight at our kitchen island. I am usually needed only for comment, positive support, and supplies. I looked up the other night and William had grabbed a little notebook on the counter and was furiously writing.

Me: "Watcha doing?"

William: "Writing a letter to the President. How do you spell Obama?"

Me: "O-B-A-M-A"

William: "Thanks."

He writes some more and then says,
"Can you help me spell Indiana?"

Me: "I-N-D-I-A-N-A. Will you read the letter to me when you are finished?"

William: "Sure"
Scribble, scribble.

"OK Mom, here it is:

Dear President Obama,

What movies do you like?
I like Indiana Jones!

Love,
William
(and he spells out our phone number)"

William: "So what do you think?"

Me: "I think President Obama will love it. Good job."

Funny, no matter what your politics you should feel privileged enough to discuss important issues with your President.

Friday, January 02, 2009

catching up

I am finally able to share some of the things that happened before Thanksgiving. I know I shared a bit about my father-in-law's 80th birthday party, but I thought you might enjoy some of the videos. Don was completely surprised. He thought he was attending a kid performance at our church. He walked into a room with 100 people from every walk of his life - church, hospital volunteer, and family and friends.

There was BBQ - chicken, pulled pork, and ribs - and all the fixings along with plenty of iced tea. That food just seemed perfect for a man who is so pleasant and easy-going. Dave arranged for a women's accapella quartet to come and serenade Don as part of the evening's entertainment. Their name was Soundworks and they were awesome. In the following video the quartet calls Don up to be with them. Don, with his wicked sense of humor, decides to ham it up by hobbling up there like an old man. Funny thing is that he moves better than most 40 year olds. This is the video of "Ain't he sweet" where they fight over Don:



More videos can be found here from the party.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

happy 2009!

We celebrated new year's eve quietly around our casa. Jordan had an all important "lock-in" with her church youth group so that left us with only William and Grace for dinner. After convincing the two littles that they lacked one more year before they were qualified to do midnight duty on new year's eve (horrible, aren't we?!?) we cozied up to watch a recorded episode of "Heroes" and then later kissed hello to 2009 at our bedtime. I know you are astounded by our domestication. Ah, it was nice to have a quiet night with no plans. What used to be a tragedy is now our idea of paradise. ;-)

Dave took doughnuts to the church building this morning for the crowd and then collected a tired Jordan who had stayed up until 5:30 am. Apparently she was on of the first to go to sleep this morning. Needless to say, our youth minister will need a nap. My husband so thoughtfully got silver dollars for each child's shoe and so they were introduced to a little tradition he grew up with in his household. We then rolled everyone out for a midday movie. We saw Bedtime Stories and loved it. Now it's on to a holiday feast of Fajitas, Guacamole, and Black-eyed peas.

I stopped doing resolutions a long time ago. For me they were fruitless. This past year has been a milestone one for me. 2008 was the year I finally began to figure out how to recover from the last birth. In all ways - mentally, physically, and spiritually. I feel so much more hopeful this January than last. A lot of it has to do with the diagnosis of identifiable things I could do to get my body's organs back to some kind of normal. Honestly last January I felt hopeless. I was hanging on by a spiritual thread and that was it. So this year I am just going to keep doing the things that are working...only do them better. I'm just going to keep hoping that our family grows in love and take action to make that happen. I'm just going to keep sharing what I've learned along the way with those who feel hopeless. And I'm going to open myself up to the situations that God places in my life.

I wish the same for you. Happy 2009!