Showing posts with label churchy-stuff. Show all posts
Showing posts with label churchy-stuff. Show all posts

Saturday, April 15

Headway!

So, we got the doors in and all was well. Then the blinds just conked out in one of the doors. We followed the instructions on how to fix them if they break, but evidently something... else broke. It didn't work. Today, Z called Jeld-Wen to find out what our options are, and they'll be sending someone out to replace the dorked up bit, themselves. Mad love for Jeld-Wen right now, I've gotta say. (Because if they'd said, "Sure, just bring the whole unit back and we'll replace it," I might have cried, cussed, and curled up in a ball. Bless them for not doing that.)

Meanwhile, the boys and I painted the background for the basement wall.


Then, this afternoon, the kids decorated it up. I haven't been down this evening, but just before I headed up to get ready for church, it was looking pretty fun.


We're definitely going to have to raise the bar on the rest of the decor so the whole place doesn't look like a back alley in the midst of a gang war. (The Russian is a nice touch, though. Heh.) Aaannndd, do something about that couch. The wall isn't doing it any favors. So, projects lined up. That'll give us something to do this summer.

All in all, it's been a fun project. The kids all joined in with their own ideas and experiments. Z and I even put a few tidbits on there. They'll enjoy it for a while, and when they're done (or when we need to sell the house), a layer of Kilz and it's a fresh slate.

Tonight, we attended Good Friday service. The service focused on praying through the stations of the cross. I'm thankful for waterproof mascara, humbled by how little I know, and encouraged by how much there is to learn. Also? My youngest children have no concept of how to be still. Just still. Even the shushing brought noise in reply. What on earth? It was like worshiping between Heckle and Jeckle. So. We've gotta work on that. The congregation is great, and nobody shot us the hairy eyeball or anything, but it's just not good for your spirit if you can't hush up and just contemplate once in a while!

This is the last weekend to prep the house before the cookout for the models and photographers next week. I'm a little nervous, wondering what we were thinking - there's no way this place is going to be Lovely by then - but it is Better, and that's a good thing. Fortunately, the bulk of hospitality is creating a space where guests feel welcome and at ease. I think we don't stink at that, at least. So although, as I told a friend this morning, we aren't good at Martha Stewart style hospitality, we'll play to our strengths and feed them well.

Be encouraged!

~ Dy

Sunday, March 12

A Sleepy Day of Worship

We awoke this morning, bright and early. Oh, so, early. Fortunately, it's been so cloudy and overcast this winter that we've stopped relying on how light it is outside to gauge the time. We just had to believe the clocks when they told us it was 6:30 *yawn*...

Somehow, Em and I both got slated to serve in this morning's worship service. I maintain that it was part brilliance (as we might not have made it with the time change), and part evil plan (as helpers have to show up half an hour earlier to get squared away) that they put two of us in on this Sunday. But we made it. On time, even. And nobody fell asleep in their seat. The drive up and the drive back? We lost several, there. But we held our own in the pews.

Yesterday, we had a Philmont training hike, so John and I were out the door at 6 in the morning. The high was something like 39 degrees, and it rained on us nonstop after the first mile. It was a really great opportunity to identify weak points in our gear and training. My gear is basically composed of weak points held together by gravity. My training is essentially at the whim of gravity. But it's good to know.

The Vibram Five Fingers, however, held up admirably, and today, my feet are about the only part of me that is not sore and tight. No blisters, either, in spite of doing the entire 12 miles in wet feet. The thighs, I can blame on the hills we did. (So many hills!) The back and shoulders on not having adjusted the internal frame of my pack before I loaded it up (d'oh!) Also, 400mg magnesium is not near enough to stave off DOMS. See? We learned a lot! Never stop learning!

I'm getting a handle on what food to take for the trail. Blessedly, pre-cooked bacon is shelf stable and fairly light. Guess what I'm eating on the trail? Oh, yeah! The Oberto original jerky trail mix is also nice, although it won't make a full meal substitute. The carbs are a little high for regular consumption (within the context of nutritional ketosis). I pitched the idea today to Z of making jerky from an entire roast before we head out. We'll do a practice roast, first. I'm thinking if we salt it and dry it properly, we can vacuum seal it and it should hold up OK. Will keep you updated on how that goes.

After the hike, John and I split and headed to a bonfire for their ballroom dance class. That was hosted by a family that just started this year, and it was a delightful opportunity for the kids to visit and get to know each other outside the formal setting of the dance floor. They had a blast. I had a blast, too. We got in a lot later than we'd anticipated, but it was worth it. Even at 6:30 this morning.

Be encouraged!

~ Dy

Monday, December 19

Party Fun

We made it to the church's Christmas party last night, and I am so glad we went. (It was dark, and cold, and we were kind of ready to pile up on the couch and watch Foyle's War...) But we went, and I am so glad we did!

The teens took The Resistance to play - it's a guaranteed ice breaker, and, in fact, the families with teens were the last to leave because they were waiting on the kids. Gotta love that.

We brought ice cream cones for the little ones to decorate as trees, with frosting and sprinkles. Yes, I brought sugar. I know. But the sticky thank you hugs I got were totally worth it.

Father Geoff came dressed as a Wise Man. He also brought Frankincense (in the form of incense), which was rather clever. Next year, we're going to have to step up our "festive garb" game, for sure.

The food was amazing. The hosts had a shrimp boil, and everyone brought sides to share. There's just something about shared food... it's good for the soul. It's good to nourish and be nourished in turn, and while "potluck" doesn't sound particularly inspiring, it's actually quite an ennobling way to gather for a feast when you think about it.

And people shared - they shared their happy memories of years past, their concerns and hope for the years to come, their experiences and their ideas. Truly, it was a wonderful evening. Totally worth staying dressed and braving the cold for!

I'm not sure what series of thoughts brought this plan to fruition,
but it's hilarious and I could not resist a photo of it.

Tuesday, December 13

BIG Weekend

Saturday was kind of quiet. Then Sunday was packed with church and a photo shoot and headshots, and it bled over into Monday with school and parade prep, and now we overslept on Trash Day. Oops!

Em was acolyte at church on Sunday. She's not a Center Stage kind of person, so this is a challenge for her. She'd gladly decorate the church, make blankets for the homeless, sew hats for babies. Being in front of people, however, is hard for her. And learning new things (skills, routines, steps) in front of people? Oy vey! But she does it sweetly and with a good attitude. We have enough children serving that the kids only have a turn once every six weeks or so -- she appreciates the reprieve, but I think she needs to do it every week for a month straight so it'll stick. Right now, it's a little like it's her first time every time. She's adorable, though, even though she's probably not much actual help for Father Geoff. And I love our vestry for being so sweet about directing her when she gets lost.

Did I tell you all James is modeling? He started in June, and he loves it. We're all moderately surprised at this (not because he's not lovely, but because he's so cerebral and analytical - we just always assumed he'd be an engineer or a scientist -- this is what comes of raising your children to work hard, study hard, and find their joy -- it doesn't usually look the way you thought it would, but it will be good). He is good at it, he works hard at it, and he's learning so much. Then Jacob decided to give it a go -- he was selected in November to work with the Alabama Fashion Alliance. This incredible organization is hosting Fashion Week Alabama, which is in March. (I'm sure I'll talk your ear off about it as it gets closer. Good stuff happening in North Alabama.) Jacob was cast to walk in it, and James got his first paid walk that week, too. Very exciting stuff.

This was Jacob's first shoot, and he could not have asked for a better first experience. From the stylist (who is a dream stylist!) to the photographers (who are fantastic), to the other models, the whole thing was fantastic. James brought his A-game, LeJeune (the AFA director) found a tremendously talented designer of men's clothes, and I cannot wait to see the results in the look book.

This is just friends hanging out after the meeting at the end of the day. We should all look that good at the end of a work day. :-)

Monday was the Christmas Parade. John is doing a prince role for a local princess group. They do a lot of charity events, but also hire out for parties and dances. It's an incredible group of young people who make it all happen. I just showed up to drive the trailer. We had to wrap up school in the morning so we could hit the car wash before going to get the decorated trailer. Then the normally five minute drive to downtown took about 30 minutes because we couldn't go over 20mph. But the end result was fantastic!
Prepping the float - he's not only handsome, he's helpful.

We got home and everybody crashed!

Today, we read. And make coffee, pot after pot. And rest.

Be encouraged!
~Dy

Sunday, February 16

The Week in Review

We had Snow Week!

 Not just a day, but four days of snow and fun, cold fingers, wet pants, snowball fights and gimpy snowmen. It was wild, and wonderful!

Then Friday was so beautiful we were still able to get out and hike with friends! (The hike also involved cold fingers, wet pants, and a fairly awesome 11th Doctor snowman. But it was warm enough that we only needed light jackets and t-shirts. Double bonus, if you ask me.)

This coming week of school is going to be... hard. We're all sort of girding and trying to find a way to not cringe when we think about it.

Jacob had his second week of communicants class. I ran some errands to get ready for small group, and so missed most of it. Of course, this was the night they asked some pretty in-your-face questions about church membership (and we don't plan to join this church, but it's a somewhat nuanced position that's challenging for a 40yo to explain, let alone a 10yo...) JakeRabbit sounded like he'd handled it fairly well, though. He's cool like that. And he enjoys the class, overall.

Our small group also had its first gathering. That was, oh man, so nice. Good discussions, a lot of laughter, and some very real conversation about things that matter, and why. I'm glad we're in this group. Hopefully, we won't be the weird ones. (Or if we are, maybe it will be in an affectionate way...) There aren't any teens in the other families, so James sat in with the adults. He may be the one to pull up our average score from the judges - such an insightful kid, and so thoughtful.

So now, it is with a good deal of gratitude, wet clothing, mud on the floors, and wood chips in the foyer that we head into another week. I can't complain. (Obviously, I can't clean, either.) Right now, it's all about the Good Stuff.

Kiss those babies!
~Dy


Wednesday, February 16

Quickie!

Yes, I'm posting between breaths, lately. Right now I have a freshly cleaned and turned mattress with clean sheets awaiting me (compliments of the one who fell asleep and peed on the other sheets... *aherm*) and I can barely keep my eyes open.

First thing: Our Pastor's wife is a saint. I know, that sounds cliche, doesn't it? But no, she really truly is amazing. Any woman who doesn't even *blink* before offering to triple the number of children in her home all day long when you need emergency child care? Made of some fantastic combination of angel dust and titanium.

Second thing: *argh* Zorak's final, official, really-real diagnosis is a torn ligament in the rotator cuff *and* a broken bone. He's more than a little freaked out by the sheer math involved in the odds. (I'm still weirded out that he was wielding a chain saw just this past weekend...) End result? Surgery, and a minimum 3 months of physical therapy. End goal? 100% recovery. Could be worse. Could be much worse. We'll have our minds wrapped around it shortly. I hope.

Third... oh, lunch at Logan's Roadhouse. I cannot believe we've lived here nearly six years and hadn't eaten there, yet. Oh, but we will go back. Yes, we will. We might even take the children. AND they have a gluten-free menu, too, which I thought was pretty awesome business sense.

And now, good night!

Kiss those babies!
~Dy

Sunday, February 7

Scout Sunday

Or, so I heard. Tonight. After the fact. *sigh* This whole schtick about putting the boys in charge of things is really not panning out well, here. I keep telling myself it's because he's new to it... but there's not a lot of conviction behind this particular mantra, to be honest.

As it was, we at least nearly made it to our church on time. We're meeting in the fellowship hall right now, because it's easier to heat. I have to admit I kind of like it. Even if we have to sit "in the back", we're not that far from the pulpit, so the kids can still pay attention. Plus, the bathrooms are right there, and there's no trekking across the breezeway in the cold to get to them. Of course, there's also nowhere to take Jason when he gets loud(er), except outside. That's not so much fun.

Me-Wa and Me-Tae showed up today. The kids absolutely lit up when they saw them walk in. EmBaby scurried up to sit with them, and she was as quiet and attentive as you could ever hope (in those wild, crazy daydreams mothers have, where their children are suspiciously quiet, but nothing's actually being damaged... yeah, she was *that* quiet!) Smidge was a little appalled that he didn't get to go sit with them, but I didn't want to just dump all the kids on them unexpectedly. I did warn them that next time they'll probably be buried in the deluge of migrating children as soon as they sit down. (They didn't seem phased. They are so cool.)

We had grand plans for the afternoon, too. But our Netflix had arrived. And there was caramel corn to make. And once we got the fire going, everything was so cozy. Not to mention, I think lunch was laced with a sleeping drug. (The smoked venison, sliced thin, served on fresh whole wheat bread with horseradish, cheese, onions, mustard... baby carrots, and green olives on the side... pintos with cheese... mmmm...) Everybody was somewhat lethargic after lunch. (Imagine that!) What's a family to do, right?

Tomorrow's a marathon day - dental checkups, follow-up visit with the chiropractor for John, and back to the grind for school! Guess I should catch up with Chuck or Modern Family and get to bed!

Kiss those babies!
~Dy

Sunday, November 8

And then, all at once...

Wednesday was my surgery. This was the dental surgery that we've been putting off, saving for, then putting off some more, for a year and a half. Yeah, nothing like letting your dual natures duke it out while you stand back to see what happens, right?

For me, it was less harrowing than I'd feared. Significantly so. Kudos to general anesthesia and Percocet! For Zorak, it was... probably about as bad as he feared. I'm not sure. I still catch him looking at me occasionally like I'm a half-starved, Parvo-stricken puppy he found in a back alley (which, to be completely honest, freaks me out, because I *feel* fine... until I see him looking at me like that).

I stayed contentedly drugged up for the first two days, then eased up so I could function and remember when to take what. (MUCH easier to do if you're not leaning too heavily on the pain killers, and I have enough respect for chemical reactions not to taunt the Clotting Gods by drinking alcohol.) Even so, the rest of that week is a bit of a blur.

The doctors were wonderful about filling me in on what to expect, from the swelling, to the fact that the surgery was extensive enough to alter the shape of my face. The swelling was quite impressive, and somewhere around day five, I began to worry that perhaps the Manimal snout was the new shape of my face. (Thankful for health, and bone grafting and technology, but there were a few Panicky Vanity moments. I'm not going to lie!) The doctor was able to do all that he'd hoped to do, so that was good, and the follow-up visits I've had indicate things are healing well. I am also happy to say that I'm free of cheezy, early-80's special effects.

In the meantime, Halloween and all its attendant activities were in full swing. The boys got to give their outfits another round at the Reformation Party at church. This was the first year for it, and it was, from all accounts and pictures, a fantastic success. Pastor's wife put it together as a spur of the moment thing, and she did an amazing job. I'd give body parts to have her organizational skills and talent for party hosting! Next year, we'll plan ahead more and she'll have more help.

Then, Halloween. Good stuff. Busy stuff. I slept. Also good stuff.

The kids shared all their softer candies with me - peanut butter cups, mostly. So sweet, and so thoughtful. (Also, so tasty!)

And, that pretty much brings us up to the present! I'll post pictures separately, because they don't want to be in with the surgery re-cap.

Kiss those babies!
~Dy

Tuesday, August 18

TOO MUCH!

Too much to post, and not enough time without people touching me, climbing on me, or digging their bony little elbows into my leg. I could blog regularly and well with a few minor modifications. All I need is voice recognition software, a laptop, a gilly suit, and a caramel launcher. Is that so much to ask?

Tomorrow, ask me about the cool new Grammar program for 1st and 2nd! It's awesome! We're going to use it, and we don't normally use a Grammar program at all. But this? This is cool.

We had a splendid Sunday, hanging with Me-Wa and Me-Tae. They met us at church. Actually, they got there on time. We slipped in even later than usual. But I *had* to mop. There was simply no way around it.
Death by Irony point: this, right after Zorak helped talk me out of mopping Saturday night, by whispering sexy things into my ear, like, "It's okay to drop your standards a little, just one more time..."
See what happens when you listen to the Siren's Song, people? You have to panic-clean before church!

After a typically fantastic service (we are SO fortunate for this church), they came to the house, where I did not have to choke down convulsions and horror, because at least the floor was relatively clean-ish. We ate a weird lunch (I don't remember what we made.) Then the guys sighted in a few things, the kids blew bubbles, and played the piano for Me-Tae, and just generally enjoyed the lovely afternoon and the good company.Monday was gorgeous, but we didn't realize that until about 12:30, because it's the middle of August, and seriously, who expects a gorgeous day in the middle of August in the South? Once we clued in, though, we hustled through the rest of our lessons and then got out and enjoyed it.

When, what we should have done was work in it. Because today it rained and rained and rained. And now everything we should have picked up, or mowed, or harvested, is all sparkly and highlighted by droplets of sparkling guilt. But it's beautiful enough that we really hardly felt the guilt at all.
Dishwasher's still not fixed, another part will arrive Friday. I'm running out of one-pot meals we can all eat straight out of the pot, with our hands.

And that, my friends, is the week so far.

Monday, August 3

Routine, Sweet Routine

The company and travel and more company of the last month has been so wonderful. Still, it's nice to be back in school (yeah, you can remind me of this is February, when all we want to do is sleep and take pictures of daffodils), and back to the daily grind of living.

We made it to church this morning, and managed to remember to take some of the hog we brought back from our trip down South. Pastor's going to try smoking it. Should be fantastic!

We'd planned to be productive when we returned home, but John's not feeling well, and I've been s-l-e-e-p-y, and the next things we knew, everybody who was still awake was already jammied up. So, we just played and snacked and read and snacked. Of course, come bedtime, the children (who had done little else but graze all day long) realized we hadn't eaten supper! So, of course, we had to have a "proper supper". (Could have fed them the same things they'd been eating all day, as long as it has been deemed An Actual Meal, they're good. Are my kids the only ones who do that?)

Of course, the rain stopped, but even that wasn't motive enough for us to get out there and work. It was just too nice looking out the window, doing nothing for a bit.

Tomorrow, we hit the library, switch out the laundry, and put our thinking caps back on for the week. Today truly was a day of rest. And togetherness.

I'd planned to be in bed long before now, but Zorak offered to fix up a little midnight steak and eggs for two. How could I resist? But it smells ready now, so I'm off!

Kiss those babies!
~Dy

Thursday, June 25

It's not all nosebleeds and starting fluid

But it's felt that way.

We pretty much slept through Sunday, although we kinda-sorta made it to church. None of us was rested up. The Adults were a little off our game (namely defense), and the Littles were on FIRE. We sat in the back, which was a bad call, as EmBaby refuses to believe Pastor is talking to *her* if she cannot see him. She talked, hummed, sang the whole time. I suggested to John that perhaps she has Pentecostal blood. (The story being fresh in his head of the time I took my strict Southern Baptist mother to a FourSquare Pentecostal service, and the prophecy of the morning seemed directed pointedly at her, he got it.)

Zorak got even later on, though, when Jase started throwing things (mostly hymnals and Bibles, since I don't have a purse to ransack) into the aisle before I could react, and John had to bury his head between his legs to keep from cracking up. Zorak whispered to James, "Pretend we don't know them." Honestly, we are not usually an irreverent wrecking crew. We probably should have just slept in, in retrospect, but we were trying to the right thing. We hope to make it up at the pot luck this Sunday.

The rest of the week has been a bit of a blur. John's had a few nosebleeds, which is weird, since he's not a bleeder, really. We stayed home from the art-oriented reading thing, since we figured nobody would appreciate an impromptu exercise in hazmat containment. I keep checking him for other symptoms. Any symptoms. So far, nothing, but if it keeps up, we brave the malarial swamp to see the Wonderful Doctor.

EmBaby, Jase and I, all three, seem to have developed some kind of pre-summer narcoleptic superpower -- able to fall asleep at the slightest provocation any time between two and five. Thankfully, I haven't gone down while they're still up. But it's a struggle. I can only envision the Bigs taking wild advantage of that by eating all the chocolate chips in the pantry and playing video games until their eyes pop from their heads.

James has a new hobby. He's taken to mocking my first attempt at starting the car, loudly (and somewhat humorously, to be honest) wondering why I don't just pop the hood, spray it, and *then* try, instead of going the long way around. If I had a good reason, I'd share it with him. Totally irrational hope. That's all I've got. We thought we'd found a good replacement vehicle, but it turned out not to have the third row seat. Three of the five children balked at the idea of riding on the bumper buddy (Smidge thought it sounded fun), so we figure that extra seating is somewhat integral to the new car criteria. Still looking. :-)

And the days just keep coming and coming. I've got to go in for the follow-up on Joe tomorrow. (Thank God they called to remind me, or I'd have been wondering around mid-August if maybe I wasn't forgetting something.)

Meanwhile, the garden keeps on growing. The compost-raiding raccoons keep getting fatter. The pears are coming along beautifully and seem to have stopped dropping at a horrifying rate. The "blueberries" sign is out at the intersection. (We don't know for sure what's down there, and that's literally all the sign says, "blueberries". We suspect there is a pick-your-own farm somewhere down that road, but nobody in town seems to have been there. Ever. It's a bit odd, but now our curiosity is piqued.)

We did have a wonderful experience last week, though. The Suburban wouldn't start (not the wonderful part), and the starting fluid was empty (definitely not the wonderful part). I called down to the corner store to see if some kind soul would be willing to drive a can to us. (Because yes, we do live in the wonderful kind of small town where you can do that.) The sweet gal at the corner got off in a few minutes, and ran us up a can. *happy sigh* That's the wonderful part. It's nice to know you're only as stranded as the nearest helpful soul, isn't it?

I've heard it said it'll be the little things that break you, and to some extent, I think that's true. But I also believe it's the little things -- the humor, the kindness, the grace, the encouragement -- that get you through, and put it all in perspective. So, blurry as this week's been, it's been full of the right kind of little things, and that's good stuff.

Kiss those babies!
~Dy

Sunday, May 31

A Weekend To Remember

The first words Zorak spoke this morning were, "I'm getting old, aren't I?"

And men say we ask no-win questions? I wish he'd just asked me if his jeans make his butt look fat. I mean, technically, yes. (On getting old, not looking fat. He looks great. And I know better than to ask - either question.) The whole birthday observance does tend to note such an accomplishment as surviving another year. That yearly survival thing is tantamount to getting older.

But on several levels, I do wish he'd be a bit more cheerful about it. First, it beats the alternative. Second, um, I'm not far behind, and I'd rather not face my ensuing birthdays with the fear that he thinks I'm getting old. Gah. Way to set the bar, honey. Happy Birthday.

Zorak half-jokingly confided that he has a plan to arrive 20 minutes late for church, which puts us in about halfway through the opening prayer. PCA'ers do love their corporate prayer, that's for sure. We nailed it today, and slipped in (as quietly as seven people can slip into a completely silent room that has no sound dampening). Church was lovely. You know you have a good preacher when the verses are Genesis 46:8-27, and he can actually make an interesting, applicable sermon out of it.

We spent the rest of the afternoon trying to convince ourselves that we should go out and work. But it was "warm" out. And when it stopped being "warm" (yes, I'm using euphemisms), the "vampires" were out. So. We stayed inside and worked. Hung out. Played a bit. It was, after a holiday of sorts, right?

James lost a tooth this weekend.
John lost two teeth this weekend.
Smidge is just dying of anticipation over tournaments and the team party.
Jason FINALLY started walking today.
Emily is one tired child, trying to keep up with her brothers.
AND, I have to find the disks for my camera, because this computer doesn't have the stuff it needs to upload pictures from the camera or the memory card. So, no pictures just yet. (If you know where I've put it, though, please shoot me an email, okay?)

And so ends another weekend. As usual, we did not accomplish all that we hoped we would. We did accomplish the important things, though - time with the kids, and getting the skivvies washed for the week. Good stuff, that.

Kiss those babies!
~Dy

Friday, April 24

Easter Pics

Hey, look - Easter pictures posted before the Fourth of July!

Jase finally overcame his fear and loathing* of the grass...



To be replaced by utter curiosity. (Hey, Mom! Did you know there's stuff living in here?)



EmBaby loves all things "flower", and there is no such thing as a weed, if it will flower.



We had more fun than one would imagine possible in such a small space, but it was such a beautiful day out (and we got there early - a total fluke)

After the service, since everyone was relatively clean, awake, and all in one place, we thought we'd shoot for trying to get everyone facing the same direction...

AND, we got it.


(Though EmBaby insisted on the Victory Pose. We took eight shots, and she's standing like this in every one. Ah, may she always be that comfortable in her own skin.)

THEN, since there were Other People there, while we were all, as I've pointed out, relatively clean, and kind of facing the same direction, we thought we'd try for a family shot.



It almost worked. :-)

This was our first year celebrating Easter without company at the Forever Home, and it was quiet, and odd, but coming on the heels of the Month of Ills, we didn't have time to gather the Loved Ones. The big boys did get to help the Easter Bunny this year (John worked up to that one by asking, "Mom, does the Easter Bunny know Santa?" He's a clever one.) And we enjoyed our church family tremendously. It was a beautiful day, in so many ways.

Kiss those babies!
~Dy
*bonus points if you know the reference

Monday, February 9

Mornin'

Ah, this was, perhaps, an overly productive weekend. It hurts. I'm glad it's Monday, and we can get back to shredding papers and digging around for important documents. Oh, wait, I did that this weekend, too. Well, that's okay. Gotta get it done. (In the meantime, I did post finished photos of the Weekend Warrior project from this weekend. They're at the bottom of the page.)

We had lunch with the pastor and his family after church on Sunday. It was very nice, and the kids had a fantastic time. Zorak and I felt horribly awkward, but that's pretty normal. It's us, not them. We aren't quiet, demure, well-appointed homes kind of folks. Put us in a quiet, demure, well-appointed home, and we both feel like we just tried to crash a party at the wrong home. Like we're the only ones wearing togas.

In trying to locate the boys' birth certificates, I have now filled four 13-gal trash cans with shredded paper to be composted. Thrown away just as much trash. Absolutely stuffed the filing cabinet with things-to-keep-but-not-what-we-needed. And there is nary a birth certificate in sight. WHERE did we hide them? I'd already ordered a new one for John, but now it's looking like I'll need to order one for Smidge, as well, and I don't think they're going to make it in time. Gah. I'm asking Santa for a Personal Secretary for Christmas.

Meanwhile, it's supposed to be 72 degrees today! We're going to get out and roam about a bit. That's always good for the spirit.



Kiss those babies!
~Dy

Sunday, February 1

Sunday Somethings

Does anybody know why there is a little pink tricycle in my hallway? Two possibilities come to mind:

A) It's too cold to use it outside, but too much fun to leave it alone out there.
B) It's a Burmese Toddler Trap

I'm thinking B. Or a combination of the two.



Or maybe it was a mermaid trap? Nah, they don't live in hallways. Everybody knows that.

**********


I want to go back!

Today we nearly didn't make it to church. I hung in there through the oversleeping, and the children who evidently decided underwear weren't a necessity when laying out their clothes last night (but suddenly decided they were a must-have item that they were OUT OF this morning). I didn't lose it when breakfast kept going and going, long after that pink bunny's batteries up 'n died. But when church had already begun and only half of us were loaded into the car, and I turned around to find Smidge wearing sweats, still barefoot, I lost all will to fight.

Zorak asked me what I wanted to do, and I told him I wanted to stay home and yell at people. (Well, he asked.) He offered to take everybody to Lowe's and let me have some quiet time to do... whatever. It's a good indicator of my mental state that I didn't pounce on that, but instead said (half jokingly) that that wouldn't work because it didn't leave me anybody to yell at.

So, we went to church. Better late than never. And certainly better than yelling at people for no good reason. I've gotta say, the service sure does fly when you're only there for the last fifteen minutes of it.

**********


Then we all went to Lowe's. Not necessarily as much fun as napping on the beach, but definitely a bit more productive.

We came home and I washed every stitch of clothing we own. I swear, if anybody runs out of anything tomorrow morning, I'm giving up and declaring us a nudist colony.

The guys ran wiring and installed a new light fixture in the Scary Room. It's not so scary with warm, UV-showering light in there. That's how you eat an elephant - one bite at a time. We'll have this baby dished up with a stucco side dish in no time at all!

**********

And then I edited pictures. Which has nothing to do with this post, but there you go. Tell you what, to tie it in, I'll throw random vacation shots in throughout the post. That should tie it all together nicely.




(Much better.)

Kiss those babies!
~Dy

Sunday, January 25

Quick Church Update

We went today, all of us. It was really nice. The potluck after the service was small, as one of the families in the church had a birthday party to attend - their Grandma's 97th! What a joyful occasion! Those of us who stayed, however, also had a lovely time.

I found out the pastor's wife is a confirmed curriculum junkie. OK, so that's just a personal bonus. I didn't know they homeschool, too. But to find out that they do, and that she, also has a hard time picking curricula because there are sooooo many good ones. Oh, like a kindred soul.

The boys seemed to get along quite nicely. They told jokes back and forth over lunch, and as soon as they'd finished they all cleared their spots and disappeared out the back door. Of course, you never know if your kids are going to go and do something Truly Weird when they get out of earshot... I try not to think about that. And we did let the pastor know that we are the kind of parents who actually do want to know if our children are making poor choices. Because that's a big part of what parenting is - helping your children learn how to make good choices on a consistent basis. (Fairly consistent, anyway. Sometimes we have more hope than others, to be honest.) So we did that, and then just sat... and enjoyed the company and fellowship... and it was nice.

Even Zorak had a good time. That's a huge relief for me, anyway. That's one thing we've enjoyed at most of the PCA churches we've attended: the men aren't sitting in the background, seemingly there only because their women wanted them to be. They are active, engaged, and present in more than just body. It's so different than the churches I grew up in, and I hope that's a swing in all the churches, cross-culturally, cross-denominationally. Men have a rich and wonderful place in the church, and a church that has men who fill that place is a beautiful place to gather.

I hate to sound too optimistic so soon in the game, but it feels like this church could be a place we would comfortably call "home".

*contented sigh*

And now, I must clean. (I didn't clean before we left this morning! Oops!) The kids are playing outside. Zorak's off hunting. Jase and I are going to... well, I'm not sure how we'll go about it, but we'll find something to do. Just wanted to touch base.

Kiss those babies!
~Dy

Church!

EmBaby and I went to a new church last Sunday. I thought I told you. But no, I told somebody else. (So I will now be the weird old lady who never tells anybody anything and then shrieks, "But I TOLD you all about that!" You've been warned.)

I liked it. It's small. It's not five-people-and-no-room-for-strangers small, just small. Maybe 15 families. The service wasn't a surprise, doctrinally, but the lack of sparkly accompaniment to the service was a Very Pleasant Surprise.

There is one other homeschooling family. They also have five kids. But they have sheep, which we don't have. Very nice people, all the way around. The Mother does weaving. She wove the scarf she was wearing - silk - gorgeous - dyed it herself w/ bugs. Very funny person (like ha-ha-funny, not oh-that's-odd-funny). Didn't look at me like I have three heads for homeschooling five children. *ahhhhh*

They know, and admire, some of our favorite people and leaders from our Home Church (way up North), so that was a nice immediate middle ground. And when I said I was tempted to go back to high school just so I could take one of Dave Hammond's history classes, at least three other people nodded their heads and laughed. He is awesome. I have missed his lectures. Anyway, I'm getting off course, here...

They have a rocking chair in the sanctuary for rocking babies! IN the sanctuary! OK, that goes above, beyond, and well into the realm of My Wildest Dreams. IN the sanctuary, people? Of course, Zorak can't use it b/c he'll fall asleep. But still. Wow.

The pastor's wife approached me after the service and while we talked, she mentioned that they don't have age-segregated activities, but that they do a lot of family-oriented activity, instead. She also said she didn't want us to feel that they had nothing to offer because of the lack of programs, and if we have any ideas for anything that we think "would fit the community" please say something. (I told her that I'd be a bit of a hypocrite to suggest new programs, knowing full well that my littles are still so little and they need me more than anybody else needs a class. She laughed, and said she gets it.)

Did ya hear that? They get it.

Emily met everyone. in. the. room. Even people I didn't get to meet. When we left, three or four people yelled good-bye to her from across the room. I do not know when she met them. She's hilarious. And obviously, I'm getting a little slack in the parenting arena.

I did have one panicky moment when a gentleman came up and introduced himself. I introduced myself, then Emily. I said she's three, and he said, "...and four." And I froze. Ummm, this man reads my blog? Um... What have I written lately?

Turns out that no, he doesn't read my blog. But he'd already met EmBaby, who was busy telling everyone she is "three and four".

Like I said, it's a good thing I took the shy one. Break 'em in slowly... So we'll all go today. And they're having a potluck community outreach supper. *contented sigh* We're taking a dump cake, because the kids can make that, themselves, and have something to offer that they've made. A little personal contribution when you're building community. Hopefully, this will be the place we'll call Home. I'll let you know how it goes today. (And if I don't mention it, remind me. I may have thought I'd already told you.)

Kiss those babies!
~Dy

Sunday, December 14

The Play

It was a long, long, LONG day. We arrived at 9:30 for rehearsals (which they didn't have - they just put all the kids in Sunday School), stayed through most of the service (lovely musical service), and then slipped out early to feed the kids (they gave everyone an hour to eat, but we ate at the buffet and that takes us two hours to really do it right, and the only other food the children would be offered between noon and eight PM was going to be hot dogs, so we intended to do it right).

In retrospect, this may have really angered The Powers That Be, as not one person was so much as *civil* to me when I came to help serve supper - a task I'd been asked to do earlier in the month. Whatever. It was worth it. The boys made it through pretty well, and Smidge really enjoyed his lunch...


The boys all did a fantastic job. We can't believe Smidge hung in there. I fully expected him to burst into tears and just sit down at some point. (They'd scheduled in a "nap time" - I think, actually, it may have been an awkward attempt to placate me after I'd expressed dissatisfaction with the schedule of keeping the kids at the church for the entire day, without the option for the little ones to rest before the busy evening. Anyway, then they were surprised that nobody napped. Der. Talk about a monumentally bad idea!) But, he didn't fall over. He didn't cry. He really hung in there, and he is so proud of himself, too.

James and John nailed their parts. They were clear, strong, and obviously enjoyed the whole thing.


EmBaby danced, made up her own hand movements, and kept Me-Tae apprised of every step. "We are going to sing another song! We are going to see a movie!" (One of the songs had a video accompaniment.)


Jason didn't fuss a bit. He was his typical happy, complacent little self. Can't ask for a better evening than that!


And just for fun, to round out the photos, Smidge and Em were so happy to see each other again at the end of the day!


Oh, I love those babies! And we're so glad we stuck it out for them. They will enjoy these memories for a long time. Good stuff.

Kiss those babies!
~Dy

Thursday, November 20

Wacky Wednesday Weirdness

I haven't posted an update on TCTSNBN. Tonight was rather bland. That was nice. The previous two weeks, though, have been a RIOT!

Last week, I got mad-dogged by the Boundary-Challenged Nursery Worker on our way out the door. The best way I can describe this is when your brain is receiving two completely disparate signals, and in the confusion that follows, you don't realize what happened until it's over and you're halfway to your car.

Practice was over, and we were leaving. Part of my brain was telling me, "We're at church, and the kids are happy, and all is as well as it can be, considering." Another part of my brain was telling me, "There are strangers boring holes into the back of your head! They're blocking the door and glaring at you! Why aren't all of your children within arm's reach, woman?!? What is WRONG with you?"

But I couldn't quite make out what my brain was telling me, other than that there was something about the door and danger (Will Robinson!), because Smidge was walking with a bag of chips in one hand, a paper under his chin, trying to zip his hoodie while he walked. The older two boys were doing high-radiation proton movement displays, or something. They move so quickly. I had Jase in the carrier, plus my crochet bag and my diaper bag. Anyway, I was uber-focused on Smidge, and on getting him caught up with us, and didn't pay any attention to the various signals. (I figured the pertinent one would surface as the victor, at some point, to relay whichever message I needed to hear. Right?)

Then I heard a voice Right. Behind. Me. "Hi." Not a chipper "hi". Not a friendly "hi". It was very much a, "You're in my space"... "hi". But I wasn't in facing thugs mode, because we were still inside the church. So my reaction (which any survivalist would mock beyond reason, and I would deserve it) was a full-spine shudder, followed by turning to the voice and responding with a perky, smiley, "Hi! How are ya?" But the hands-on-hips, pursed-lipped posture and the cobra-necking that met my gaze left me standing there with that stoopid smile on my face, trying desperately to process the conflicting information. (I know this face... who is this... why are these people puffing up like this... we're in the lobby... friendly? not really... I'm confused!)

Since nobody responded with anything more than an "mmmhmmm", I scuttled the kids out the front door, and about 10 feet out, it hit me. That was the Nursery Lady! What? What was that? Nooo, it couldn't have been. I turned around to see, and there were her two companions, watching out the window at us while she gestured pretty pointedly. I couldn't hear a thing, so for all I know, they may have been discussing the poor parking design, or the cloud cover, or something. I don't know. There was no one else in the parking lot. It was just weird.

And the week before that, oh, OH! The day of the production, the children are supposed to be at the church to perform in the AM service, then let out for lunch. But they have to be back at the church by one... and kept there, for dress rehearsals, until the performance that night. Wowsa. I asked the Children's Minister about it, since that's a long day for the littler ones in the group, and that we generally nap in the afternoons. (Well, I do. But we do have the kids get a little downtime in the afternoon when they're going to have a late night.) And she explained that they don't usually have dress rehearsals the same day as the performance, but they've only got the lighting crew for that one day. Soooo...

Lighting crew?

YES! They got "a screaming deal" of only $600, but that's why they're limited to only having the crew for one day.

Six hundred dollars?

YES! Can you believe it?

No... I really can't. (Although probably for completely different reasons...)

Have I been living in a cave for that long? Is it normal for a church other than a megachurch to hire a lighting crew? For a children's play? For six hundred dollars?

Just wild. Absolutely wild. We're looking forward to this ending, and if the BCNW has her way, I don't think anybody will be sad to see us go, either.

Kiss those babies!
~Dy

Thursday, October 30

Wow, talk about lazy... and weird.

Not us. We've actually been quite productive. (But there's some swearing in this post, so, you know, brace yourself.) I'm talking about the Sparkle Hands church. I've probably hinted before that it's not going well. Did I write about the seriously boundary-challenged nursery worker (BCNW) physically barring me from EmBaby and telling me to "step out into the hall"? No? That's because I still foam at the mouth just thinking about it.

Basically, Zorak was gone, it had been a rough week, and EmBaby didn't want to go into the nursery. She and I did go into it to use the bathroom there, as that commode is little, and I had Jase, and so, well, that seemed reasonable. On the way out, though, I asked Em if she was sure she didn't want to stay. She said, "No, I just want to stay with you." I told her that was okay, put out my hand for her and we headed for the door.

That's when BCNW physically picked the child up (yes, taking her out of my hand) and told me to step out into the hall. Um... pardon me? Yeah. I reiterated that I was leaving, and taking Em. Badda-boom, badda-bing, I ended up exerting every. ounce. of grace God was willing to spare me not to go all Wild Wild West on this woman and ask her to step outside at High Noon. Give me my child and get out. of. my. way. She did finally put Em down, but she mad-dogged me the entire time.

I wasn't going to say anything, just figured I'd keep Em and Jase with me from now on. Thinking perhaps this is not a good place for us to be, but whatever. UNTIL I found out she'd been talkin' 'bout it around the church. And, of course, her story involved what a helicopter parent I am, and how I'm really-really wrong, and what are they gonna do about me? Ohhhhkay... yeah, not okay with that.

Long story shorter than it could be: the Children's Minister and I have talked, and she's "pretty sure" they could "make an exception to church policy" in allowing a parent to come and get her child "without the church staff insisting otherwise". You know, "just for you". Oh. Policy? You have a policy that mandates church workers interfere with parents like that? Wow. Don't I feel special? But we're going to have to sit down with BCNW to have a mediation, first. (Can you sense the tension? Good.)

So, on to other things, they've been riding these kids hard for two months, now. ("Sharp hands! SHARP HANDS!") Last week, two kids were visiting from out of town and their grandmas brought them to the church on Wednesday night. The kids were told they can't come. (Because they'd be too far behind the rest of the group, and you know it's far more important to have a perfect show than it is to welcome visitors! And since nobody ever shows up anywhere in the Autumn, we wouldn't want to keep a bag of Cheetos and some Bible games on hand. Just in case. Pffttt.)

Zorak mentioned a couple weeks back that he can hear me seething at night, and to be truthful, it's kind of starting to freak him out. What with having to sleep near me, and all. The truth of the matter is, this place has very different goals and priorities than what we are comfortable supporting in a church.

Last night was the last straw.

I sit at the sign-in table, with the Big People. I suspect it's so that they can keep on eye on me and my subversive tendencies, but whatever. The Powers that Be started going through the roster, figuring out who is keeping up the pace and who isn't. There's one little boy who hasn't been there in a month. The Children's Minister says, "Oh, yeah *sad face* I talked to his Mom, and they can't afford the shirt. That's why he hasn't been coming."

*blink* *blink* (I'm waiting for her to say something like, "I told her that's SO not a problem and to bring him back," but that didn't happen.)

Another lady says, "Oh, yeah, they're really struggling. Like, they're living from paycheck to paycheck, and having trouble keeping it together." Minister says, "Awww. That's so rough."

*blink* What the--?? I'm sitting here, watching this bizarre scene from a how-not-to-run-a-church video, waiting for the rest of it... still nothing. I hadn't moved or spoken up because I just couldn't believe that this was happening.

The woman picks up her pen, folks, and starts to CROSS THIS CHILD OFF THE ROSTER! Suddenly, I realize they're going to do it. They're cutting dead weight. They're... what the fuck is WRONG with you people?!?!? You can carry the interest on a million dollar mortgage without batting an eye, but you can't fork up TEN DOLLARS for a child?

I didn't smack the pen out of her hand, but I got very, very close before I could just force my hand down on the paper, instead. (I'm thinkin' an assault charge wouldn't bode well for me at this point in my life.) I'll buy the kid the damned shirt. Put the pen down. NOW.

What do they say? "Oh, but you have five kids!" Um... what, exactly, does that have to do with it? You know what, just... don't talk to me. Don't look at me. Do. Not. Engage. Me.

I can't begin to tell you how absolutely disgusted I am with this place. So, yay for them, they have wireless mikes (what is the abbreviation for microphones? mics?) for all the chosen children, but if you can't hang with the Ralph Lauren crowd, Jesus doesn't love you? I know this isn't in the New Testament anywhere, but I'm pretty sure Jesus has a big ol' bitch-slap waiting for people who behave like this in His name. (He may have one for me, too, for plenty of things I've done in my life. I get that, too.)

"Let the little children come to Me," He said. I know that part's in there.

December 14 is the date of the play. December 15, I'm going to have a Captain Morgan's and Coke to celebrate never having to wade through that place's BS again.

Kiss those babies! Oh, kiss them and love on them with all your heart.
~Dy