Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Good morning Bloggernauts! How are you on this fine Tuesday before Thanksgiving?
Me? I'm freezing my tail off. Something possessed us last week. Something sinister, I'm sure. Whatever it was it convinced us to spend some time in Idaho, which is where I am at this very moment.
It's always great to see family and friends, but... it's IDAHO! In NOVEMBER! I mean, really... what were we thinking?!? We awoke to a balmy 20 degrees this morning. It's going to warm up to a delightful 45 sometime around midday.
Apparently we have all acclimated to the California desert because I'm feeling a little bit popsicle-ish right now. All the locals (aka - family) are saying how nice it is for November. I'm laughing and putting on another layer of clothing.
I'm not going to be able to read blogs or write on here till the beginning of next week. We've got so much going on right now. We're having a great time, even though we look like the little brother in "A Christmas Story" after he gets his big ol' snow suit on. We're going to play and laugh and enjoy one another.
On Saturday we'll be at Temple Square to see the lights. I'm really looking forward to it. My kids have never seen them and it's been a long time since I've been there either. I know it will be cold, but if any of you bloggernauts would be brave enough to venture out to meet us there, email me and we'll plan a time and location to meet up on Temple Square! If you can't meet on Temple Square, well, we probably won't be able to visit this time. We've got to try to get to St. George after our time in SLC.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all! I hope you'll be spending the day with those that you love and eating delicious food that you love even more!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I haven't posted twice in one day for a long time. I just had to get this out of my head and onto ...um... the screen. I was going to say "onto paper" but, uh, that doesn't really work, now does it?
I was sitting here at my computer having a little pity party for myself over something really stupid. When I say "really stupid" I mean REALLY STUPID. I pulled up my blog and turned my play list on hoping that the music would put me in a better mood.
"Stand" by Rascal Flatts came on. This was one of the songs that I listened to this last spring when my friend passed away. It hit me like a ton of bricks: this will be their first holiday season without her. I think of her four boys and her husband and suddenly the stupidity of my own insignificant problem is intensified.
I have so much to be thankful for. I'm not going to waste any more time feeling sorry for myself. It's not worth it. None of us know how long we will have on this earth. Can we really afford to use our time worrying about our own little problems? There are too many out there who need us. Starting with our families.
It's so easy for me to hide behind my computer. To answer my kids questions as I clickty clack on my lovely little keyboard. I've buried myself in my writing. The characters in my story have become more important than the people in my life. I look at my kids and wonder, "What will they remember?"
Will they remember the times I do play with them? Probably not. Because those times are short and not often enough. Will they remember me sitting at the computer or reading books? Probably. Why? Because that's what they see me do. This is not what I want my kids to think back on and recall.
I know this is a rambling post. My emotions are all jumbled up and I feel a tad overwhelmed at the moment. Hopefully as I get my priorities straight, my feelings will sort themselves out.
If you think about it, would you pray for the Gasaway family? I'm sure they could use it about right now.
After we went to the San Diego Zoo we stopped off at Oceanside. It was cold, but my kids are die hards when it comes to sand and surf!

As you can see, there was a pretty darn thick fog rolling around while the two youngest played in the water and the rest of our group gathered shells for our project.

Then we got to work!

It's our tradition to make a sand sea turtle and decorate his shell with ...um... shells.This year our turtle had a kazoo.Rock on dude. Rock on.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monkey See, Monkey Do
While my parents were here we went to the San Diego Zoo as part of the birthday celebrations for Little Bug. It was a great trip, but our feet were sure sore by the time all was said and done. Little Bug loves the elephants (of course)
This is the look he gave me when I told him it was time to go.
See this cool looking otter?
It's not an otter! It's a monkey! It's called a swamp monkey and they like to swim under water. This one was teasing the real otters by pulling their tails and then running or swimming off.
I think this may be Red's long lost cousin...
And, of course, the three headed giraffe.
Oh come on! Doesn't it look like it has three heads? Right... moving on... Little Bug was pretty tired by the end and would lay down on anything he could find - including Grandma.
I'm so glad my parents come to visit us a couple of times during the year! We always look forward to their trips!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Belated Birthday
Little Bug's birthday was in October... another thing I didn't blog about. Sigh.
It was so fun to have my parents here for his birthday! They gave him a huge floor puzzle with zoo animals on it. He got lots of elephants for his birthday - they are his favorite animal. He had to open each gift and then take it over and examine it while sitting or laying down on our giant pillow (love that thing!).
He's not very fond of cake or cupcakes. So, cinnamon rolls were on the menu. He does love those!
It was a great day. He's such a sweet kid. We are so blessed to have him as part of our family!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Recap in Pictures
First off, thanks for all the support about going back to school. It's a stressful thing to think about, but we both feel really good about this decision. I have no idea why we feel good, we just do. So, we move forward.
Second - I'm sorry I've been absent in blog land. I had no idea that writing a book would take so much out of me. I get done writing that and I feel like I don't have anything left to say - which is why I haven't blogged or been a very good commenter. I'll keep trying... don't give up on me yet.
Since words seem to be escaping me, I thought that for the next little while I would do recaps in pictures. That way I don't have to really think. Just share photos from what's going on in our lives. We're going to go back a few weeks... to Halloween. I know. It feels like it was forever ago. But I'm sharing anyway...
Red was Commander Cody from Star Wars (yeah. I have no idea who that actually is, but he was excited about it. And yes - the mask TOTALLY smashed his nose - good job to whomever designed the darn thing!)
Baby Girl was Fancy Nancy - each time she wore her costume it was a little different depending on the accessories she chose.
Hubby was a nerdy tourist for a youth group activity he was helping with.
I was a witch - not a far cry from reality.
Little Bug hates Halloween. He wore his cowboy hat long enough to grab a few pieces of candy and then he was done. I was handing out candy while he was wearing the hat and then he wouldn't put it back on for pictures... so no pictures of him this time.
There you have it. In the next few days I'll recap in pictures (and a few simple words) about our family photo shoot, Little Bug's Birthday, Disneyland and other random things! Hopefully when I get this NaNoWriMo done I'll be a little more active in blog land. Till next time! TTFN!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Deep Breath
So, I mentioned that on Sunday my family took the opportunity to beat each other senseless with pool noodles. It was great fun and a wonderful stress reliever. But, perhaps some of you were wondering what may have brought on enough stress to whack my family around? Well, I didn't really beat the kids. But Hubby... well, that's a different story. He bore the brunt of my fury, and I did pack quite a bit of fury into those swipes.
You see this guy right here?
He would like to go back to school. Not just any school... law school. Please excuse me while I go do some deep breathing exercises. I'll be back momentarily.... in through nose.... exhale out through mouth... inhale positive energy... exhale negative energy.... and one last time.... iiiiinnnnnn.... and ooooouuuuuuut.
M'kay. I'm back. Thank you for your patience. Anyway, as I was saying, Hubby has decided that he would like to go back to school. He told me this on Saturday, hence the beating on Sunday. I'm actually not too upset about this new development. He had mentioned before that he would like to go back to school someday. I always smiled and said, "Yes dear." Because I thought he was talking about a few courses from the community college. Not actually returning to student living. Let this be a lesson to you... don't agree to ANYTHING unless you know all the details.
Where was I? Oh yes, law school. Things have been moving in the direction of change for quite awhile in our lives. Hubby had applied for several jobs, but they just didn't seem to really fit what we were looking for. I know there is no "perfect job", but we like to pretend it's out there somewhere. Anyway, the jobs just weren't working out. A friend from high school came a few weeks ago and he is going back to school next fall. Hubby and my friend chatted at length about it all. Seeds were planted. Who knew they would take root so fast?
Even though this is going to sound totally insane, I'm feeling okay with this right now. I'm a little worried about how we're going to make it all work, but I worry about that here and now too. Now, I want you to go ahead and tell me how insane we are. Or, if you'd rather try to make me feel better, you can tell me about something totally crazy you've done... but please, only share if it has a happy ending!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Halloween is Over...
Last year a gal in our church gave a talk and I loved it! I still remember feeling excited about the ideas that she shared and so I found the article she pulled some of her thoughts from and wanted to share it with you. It was written by Glenn Beck - a radio and TV personality.
The holidays are upon us, my friends, how will we approach them? Just some food for thought... this article was published in Glenn Beck's magazine "Fusion", December 2007 issue.

Trinity of Holidays
- by Glenn Beck

Let's talk turkey (and eggnog and noisemakers, for that matter). We're in the midst of the holiday season (no, that's not a PC term; I'm talking about Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's) and I have just one question: Do you even remember what it's all about?

I'm guessing you don't, because we've buried the magic of those holidays under so much noise and irrelevance that we really don't enjoy this time of year -- and we certainly don't grow spiritually from the gifts that are right in front of us. Over time, we've mangled these holidays into unrecognizable displays of gluttony and greed.

Take Thanksgiving, for instance. In November 1789, President George Washington made Thanksgiving a national holiday when he declared that the nation needed "a day of public Thanksgiving and prayer." Somehow, this day in late November that was intended to be a timeout to give thanks to Almighty God has turned into a feast of food and football that has nothing to do with prayer (unless you count praying for your football team to cover the spread, which I obviously don't).

Christmas is intended to celebrate the birth of Christ, but political-correctness and consumerism have mangled it so far beyond recognition that I'm actually surprised when I see a reference to baby Jesus anymore.

January 1st offers the promise of a new start and a new calendar year, but it's become an excuse to party and drink so much that you wake up not even knowing what day it is.

It's no wonder that, after the turkey comas and pine cone needles have disappeared, the only thing left over from the holidays is a bigger waistline and more credit card debt.

I want us to take back the real meaning of these holidays. I don't think it's an accident that they are clustered together; I see it as divine design. Every year they offer us a clear series of steps we can take to become better people.

Step One is gratitude. Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to humble ourselves and give thanks for the many blessings we have. Prayers help us find peace and acceptance with who we are.

Step Two is redemption. If you have seen my Christmas show, you know that I believe Christmas is more about the death of the man than the birth of the child. We celebrate the birth of the baby on December 25th, but the reason for His existence was so His death would cleanse our sins. His journey, from manger to cross, gives us a second chance.

Step Three is hope. The New Year gives us a clean slate, made possible because we've already humbled ourselves, given thanks, and found redemption. You can't succeed in your resolutions if you are still damaged from the past or if they are just a list on a piece of paper.

None of these holidays started out as anything extravagant. Thanksgiving was just a proclamation, Christmas began in a stable, and the New Year has always just been a day on the calendar. But their magic is in what they represent and in the opportunities they give us. They are very simple in their rewards: your grandmother's tablecloth; your child discovering the Christmas tree; the promise of a new year.

The true gifts of the season aren't in a lighting display or a gourmet meal; they are in your heart, and gathered around your table. You just have to take the time to look for them.

Traditions and glittery stuff are fine -- but our souls need attention, too. There is such a thing as a second chance and I hope, if you need one, you will find it this season in all the blessings around you.

Happy holidays from the Glenn Beck Program

Take it for what it's worth. But, I'm hoping to apply some of the things he mentions in my life. I think that too often we get caught up in the material aspect of these holidays - I know I do. I'm so busy in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day that I forget to be thankful for the family I'm surrounded by. I'm so eager for my children to open their "perfect gifts" on Christmas morning that I neglect to remember the only TRUE "perfect gift" ever given. I'm so exhausted on New Years that I don't make resolutions to change. It's so much easier to just stay the same.

This year will be different. I'm going to keep the materialism in my holidays to a minimum. I wish I could say that I would eliminate them entirely, but that would be a lie. I like to cook for my family on Thanksgiving, but this year I won't go so crazy with our menu. I want my kids to get a few things for Christmas, but they don't need so many things - because that's exactly what they are - THINGS. And I'm going to make some changes. I can see how much I need that in my life.

Sorry this is so long! I'm not trying to be preachy... just using my blog as a sounding board for a few thoughts that I thought might be useful to someone else. What do you do to keep the holidays in focus in your home? Do you have traditions to help you maintain the spirit of the holiday rather than the things of the holiday?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

We got out our pool noodles and had a sword fight tonight. We chased each other around, giggled and showed no mercy in our "poodle" battle (pool+noodle=poodle. I know. We're weird). My muscles will probably seize up on me tomorrow, but it was worth it. You have no idea how good it felt to smack my family around a little. I think they felt the same way. This may become a new tradition. When things are a little stressful in our lives, we'll just go out and beat each other up with 6 foot long pieces of foam. You should try it. It's cheaper than therapy and I feel tons better. Apparently I had a lot of pent up feelings that I needed to get out. Maybe I need to take up kick boxing?
What do you do as a family to de-stress??

Saturday, November 01, 2008

I'm back... sort of! We've had a really busy 2 weeks! Lots of fun, but lots of running around... let me give you a brief rundown...
  • Wednesday October 22: A friend from high school came for dinner. We had a great time visiting and catching up. I was so glad he was able to stop in!
  • Thursday October 23: A friend that used to live here in the valley came for a visit! Our kids played and had a ball. It was sad to say good-bye again, but we had a blast while they were here! (Come again any time Adena!)
  • Friday October 24: My parents arrived! WOOHOO!! Let the party begin!!
  • Saturday October 25: Clean up day at the school. My parents are so awesome. We gave them the option of staying home or coming to help. They both rolled up their sleeves and went to work! Mom and I went shopping that afternoon to gather supplies for Little Bug's birthday and for a youth Halloween party Hubby helped with.
  • Sunday October 26: Little Bug's Birthday! My boy is 8. He is such a blessing in our lives! We had a pretty mellow day. We opened gifts and ate cinnamon rolls (L.B. is not a fan of cake in general). We also did family pictures (which I will blog more about later...)
  • Monday October 27: Made chili and got last minute details for costumes for a party at our church. The kids had a blast and came away with TONS of candy. Dentists must really love this time of year...
  • Tuesday October 28: Shopping! Playing! General frivolity! The kids picked activities, the grandparents complied. It was a fantastic day for the kids and their Grandma and Pop Pop to just spend time reading and being together. We usually plan so much in every time they visit, they don't get a lot of down time to just hang out.
  • Wednesday October 29: The San Diego Zoo was calling our names! We walked all over that place and had a wonderful time. Then we headed to Oceanside to dip our toes in the water and build our traditional sand sea turtle.
  • Thursday October 30: MORE SHOPPING!! Had to go out again! Baby Girl and Pop Pop stayed home and played every board game we own. Then they played the Wii and I think they both really enjoyed that. That afternoon Red played the piano for them and that evening Alan and I went on a date! A REAL DATE! It was fantastic!!
  • Friday October 31: Halloween! My parents decided they were going to scrub my house. They dusted, picked everything up, wiped down counters and vacuumed... which is how my Dad threw his back out. He has a bad back and he twisted just the wrong way. But, we did learn something new that I thought I'd pass a long....you can make homemade ice packs that stay cold for a really long time and they are slushy - so they conform to your body giving you better icy coverage! We found two things that worked - dish soap or a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water. The dish soap will freeze solid (at least, mine did) but it thaws fairly well and stays cold for a really long time. The rubbing alcohol and water (1 cup alcohol, 3 cups water) just stays slushy and, again, stays really cold! We just put it in Ziploc bags and it worked great! Anyway... back to Halloween... Little Bug HATES this holiday. He's not a fan of masks (they aren't supposed to wear them at the church party...) and he hates having people jump out and scare him. So, this is usually a pretty stressful day for him. He did well at school, came home and didn't want to leave again. We ordered pizza that night and Baby Girl, Hubby and I went out trick or treating. Red went with friends (he's too cool to go with us!). That night, after the kids were in bed, we watched "Emma Smith: My Story" and it was really good! I would recommend it!
  • Saturday November 1: Wait... it's November? This last month flew by... anyway... today is the day we pulled out the Kleenex. Time for my parents to go home. Baby Girl and Red cried. Little Bug screamed. I let a few of my own tears flow... sigh. It's always so fun to have them here and always so hard to see them go.

And there you have it. I have more to tell you, but it will have to wait. This post is getting long enough as it is! I hope your week has been fantastic! See ya in blog land!