Monday, January 28, 2008

The things she comes up with

Eric and the girls were driving me to the airport (LAX) yesterday and when we got to Van Nuys Amber had to go to the bathroom. We pulled off the very next exit, not really caring where we were because "she really had to go!" We stopped at the first gas station and ran into the bathroom. Washing our hands a few minutes later, Amber said, "Those ABCs on that mirror are not good!" I looked at the graffiti etched in the glass, and said, "Where did you hear that?" Amber said, "I don't know, but I just know that those ABCs on that mirror are not good." She was so sure of herself, too. I know she can't read yet, so I'm assuming she was referring to fact that we shouldn't write on walls or mirrors.

We returned to the car and to the freeway, and we continued our singing with Rich Mullins. His music is so cool and his lyrics are thought-provoking, raw and real. I actually got to meet him and wrote an article about him when I wrote for a newspaper in Phoenix. He was just as real in person as he is in his songs. He called himself a "hopeful sceptic." Well, we were listening to his song, "If I Stand" and Amber asked, "What does 'fall on the grace' mean?"

If I stand, let me stand on the promise that You will pull me through
If I can't let me fall on the grace that first brought me to You

Once again, I sat there, grasping for the right words to say. Eric was driving and thinking of a good response, too, when I finally said, "What does 'fall on the grace mean?' Well, it means that when we sin, we ask God for forgiveness and accept His forgiveness." I asked Eric if that was a good answer. He said "yes" and Amber was satisfied, but I thought about that phrase during the rest of the drive to the airport. Amber's comments and questions sure keep me on my toes. It challenges me to really think about what I believe.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Walking in the Rain

Tonight Eric and I went on a date to a restaurant in downtown Ventura. It's always packed anywhere near Main Street, so we had to park three blocks away and walk to the restaurant (okay, Eric says we only parked one block away). Anyway, it wasn't raining when we walked to Cafe Fiore, but when we left the restaurant it was pouring! Eric asked me if I wanted to wait in the restaurant while he got the car and I said, "No, I've always wanted to walk in the rain with you."

After getting wet just waiting to cross the street, we half-walked, half-trotted back to the car. I was not dressed very warmly and I had open-toed heels on my feet, and I said out loud, "Wait a minute, I've never wanted to walk in the rain with you! What was I thinking!" Eric said, "Yeah, I thought that was strange that you said that." Anyway, we arrived at the car, very wet and laughing. Walking in the rain wasn't as romantic as the movies portray, but any night out with Eric almost always ends in laughter. I am truly blessed.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tag, I'm it!

Okay, so I've been tagged by my friend Becky. I'm supposed to tell you things I love and hate. This should be easy. Here goes:

I love (in random, off-the-top-of-my-head order):

- Arizona sunsets (ooh, I get to see some next week!)
- Chinese pugs and bull dogs (although I'm highly allergic)
- The smell of banana bread or pumpkin pie in the oven
- Cooking together with Eric (a rarity)
- Snuggling with my daughter Autumn right after she wakes up from a nap
- Listening to my daughter Amber sing songs that she's made up (half praise songs/half nursery rhymes!)
- Ink pens that don't leak and a cute set of note cards
- The sound of rain in the middle of the night
- Old, sappy, romantic movies
- Receiving hand-written notes/letters in the mailbox
- Arizona beating Arizona State in any sport

I hate:

- The word "hate"
- Barking Dogs
- My girls fighting
- Being late anywhere
- Headaches (though they are fewer)

Do you know how hard it was for me to make this list? I could have come up with dozens & dozens of things that I love and I had to grasp for things I hate.

Now, I tag:

Gina
Amber
Heidi

Jeff
Melanie

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

COUSINS!

Yesterday we all went to Santa Barbara to Eric's parents home to visit Eric's sister, Amy. Amy and her husband, Dave, and their kids, Pieter (12) and Rachel (10), are en route from Canada to New Zealand. They have left their Canadian home in the hands of a relative and are going to live in New Zealand for a year before deciding if they'll move there permanently! Amy already has been hired to be a nurse in a senior care facility. They are taking only the allotted two pieces of luggage each, and will purchase everything else they need once they get settled. I'm sure the very thrifty Amy will seek out the best second-hand stores and garage sales for many of their purchases. What an adventure they are embarking upon! They will be our role models and test pilots, as Eric and I are wanting to take a similar year-long adventure to Catalina Island when the girls are older. Eric's Uncle Steve came down from Palm Springs and Eric's cousin, Grace visited from the nearby city college. We had a wonderful time with everyone! Here's some pictures of Eric's fun family!
Eric's sister Amy, Cousin Grace & Eric
Amber just adores her cousin, Rachel!

Cousin Pieter & Amber

Saturday, January 19, 2008

With the flick of a switch

Yesterday our neighbor brought over some hand-me-down toys for the girls. One of them was a talking baby doll. She says, "Mommy, I'm hungry," "Mommy, I'm thirsty," "Let's play," "Mommy, play music," and my favorite, "No."

This morning--and a few times last night--Amber said to her new doll, Lucy, "I'm turning you off!" And she turned the doll over, removed the Velcro clothes and turned off Lucy.

Amber started talking in complete sentences when she was 18-months-old, and she's never stopped. But I never could find that "on" and "off" switch. Now I'm looking for it on Autumn, but I still can't find it!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Day at the Ranch

I'm finally sitting down to post about our fun day at Restoration Ranch on January 1. Of course, who knows how many sentences I'll be able to write before one of my girls get up from their "naps."

On New Year's Day, our family picked up Eric's dad, Bob, in Santa Barbara and headed north on the 101 toward Buelton. Bob knows the owner of a 1,000 acre ranch near Nojoqui Falls. Our original intent was to go mushroom hunting, but the terrain was too dry for 'shrooms, so we did many other fun things, like Cow Pie Tossing. The ranch has many cows and no matter where you go, you have to watch your step, if you know what I mean! Bob brought along his hiking stick, and so he decided--after our picnic lunch, thank you--that we'd have a contest to see who could toss cow pies the furthest. No matter where we go, Bob is always coming up with fun and interesting games to play!

After pitching hardened manure off the end of Bob's walking stick, we got in the car and drove back down toward the ranch house. Along the way, we had to stop to open the many gates that divide the land. I gladly volunteered to open and close the gates, jumping out of the car each time we got to one. I was so excited to open the last gate, because behind the gate was a herd of cattle. That meant that I got to "shoo" the cattle out of the way so Eric could drive on. I opened the gate, waved my hands wildly and shouted, "Shoo! Go away! Move on!" The city girl in me was having way too much fun! After Eric drove through, I started taking pictures of all of the cows, and I forgot to close the gate! Oh no! Cow #8 ran out into the pasture. Yikes! I was--of course--oblivious to this because I was taking pictures and having a grand old time. I didn't even notice Eric and Bob waving at me and yelling, "Close the gate! Close the Gate!" I finally closed it, and by that time Eric and Bob were on the other side of the fence trying to "shoo" #8 back where he belonged. They quickly got him through the gate, which was a good thing because all of the hired hands had the day off, I think. The ranch was empty. I said to the guys, "Is it really a big deal that one cow got out into the pasture?" I clearly have no idea about these things!

We had fun the rest of the time looking at the goats and horses and climbing on haystacks and walking over rickety bridges. It was a fun holiday!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

That's a Good Question

Earlier today Amber (4 1/2) came up to me and asked me, "Mommy, can God be two places at once?" I said, "Yes." Then she asked, "How can God be two places at once?" I said to her, "That's a hard question." She quickly added, "And a good one!" She just stood by me as I thought and thought and came up with this brilliant answer: "God can be two places at once because he's all-powerful; he can do anything." She just stared at me. Then I asked her, "That doesn't answer your question, does it?" She shook her head. I finally had to admit to her that I did not know how God could be two places at once, but that I believed he could. After Amber left the room, I mulled that concept over in my mind. I can't (and won't ever be able to) understand or explain some of the things of God. But I still believe them to be true. I pray that one day Amber will be able to say that. Meanwhile, does anyone else want to answer Amber's question?

The Empty Drawer

Doesn't the title of this blog post sound like I'm going to tell you a heart-warming story, like the ones you've read on the Internet? ("The Chair," "The Piece of Chalk," "The Quilt," etc.) Well, this little ditty is not a story, and there's nothing sentimental about it.

Yesterday I discovered an empty drawer in the little desk in my office. I've had this little kids'-style desk since I was in junior high school. My dad bought it, along with other furniture, at a garage sale and painted them all white. I have the matching night stand in my bedroom and the matching chest of drawers in the girls' room. (none of the furniture in our house matches at all!)

Anyway, when I discovered this empty drawer, the gears in my mind started spinning: How did it become empty?...How long has it been empty?...but most importantly, What am I going to do with an empty drawer? The organizer in me just didn't know what to do. Then a series of new thoughts arose: What am I going to put in this empty drawer?...It has to be something the girls can't destroy by "accidentally" getting into it...Note cards? No...Photo storage cds? Maybe...Hmmm, I just don't know.

The drawer is not that big; it's about the size of two shoe boxes. But the possibilities seem to be larger than the small, empty space I have to work with. Oh, the wonderful things you can do with an empty drawer!

(For all of you Monk fans: I know, I know, "it's a blessing, AND a curse!")

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Two Conversations

On the way home from preschool today, I asked Amber the same question I ask her every Tuesday and Thursday:
Mommy: Amber, How was preschool today?
Amber: Good. We have a new boy in our class.
Mommy: What's his name?
Amber: Moses.
Mommy: Is he nice?
Amber: Yes...He's cute.

Then tonight during dinner, Eric asked Amber the same question he asks every Tuesday and Thursday evening:
Daddy: Amber, How was preschool today?
Amber: Good. We have a new boy in our class.
Daddy: What's his name?
Amber: Moses.
Daddy: Is he nice?
Amber: He's a boy.

The conversation went on from there, but I had to run to the computer to record this funny paradox.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Accounting?

I was just editing my profile, and I saw that under the heading "Industry" it stated that mine was "Accounting." Who put that there? It definitely was a mistake. I'm a journalism major and an English minor and I barely made it through all of my math classes in high school and college. I am very good friends with my three calculators and I haven't balanced my checkbook in years (I don't want to hear any lectures on that subject). Anyway, I found it amusing and quickly changed my industry to "Communications/Media." That's more like it, but actually I wish Google had a category called "Home." That's my main industry and I am very happy to say that. Accounting? Yeah, right!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Hear my prayer, O Lord

Tonight I got some sad news, and I was pretty bummed (understatement). I'm not sure if she knew what she was doing, but a few minutes after I ceased crying, Autumn picked up Eric's Bible off of the fireplace hearth and brought it over to Eric. I said out loud, "Yes, what a great idea, Autumn. Someone should read some scriptures out of the Bible." Eric turned to Psalm 101 and 102 and read these verses: "I will sing of your love and justice; to you, O Lord, I will sing praise...Hear my prayer O Lord; let my cry for help come to you. Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly."

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Autumn's First Day of Preschool!

Today was Autumn Brooke's first day of preschool at Noah's Ark. After a fun pre-preschool pancake breakfast, I loaded the girls into the car and we headed to Noah's Ark. I dropped Amber Shea off at her classroom first, then Autumn dragged me by the hand to her classroom. (She knew right where it was because I had been showing her for weeks every time we'd drop off Amber.) Since Autumn is quite the "mamma's girl," I had anticipated that she would cry a little when I dropped her off this morning. She cried when we dropped her off in the toddler room at church last Sunday, so I had been mentally preparing myself and I didn't sleep well last night as a result.

We walked into Autumn's classroom, met her teachers, put her new lunchbox on the shelf and then Autumn immediately dove into the bin of My Little Ponies. I knew I shouldn't stay long. I knew I was supposed to say goodbye to her and leave, even if she started crying. So, I took a few pictures, gave her a hug and a kiss and turned to go. What? No tears! What? She didn't even turn to watch me go! What? I didn't get a phone call from Noah's Ark all morning! Don't get me wrong, I was very happy, but very surprised. When I picked her up a few hours later, they said she had a great time. I was so glad!

I'm hearing some of you silently ask, "Did I cry?" Not really. I mean, a few tears threatened to spill out but changed their mind. Now that surprised me, also. Just think, Autumn's first day of preschool and neither one of us cried! Who would of thought?

While the girls were at preschool, I met a friend for coffee for an hour or so, went to the chiropractor for about an hour and went to my friend's house to scrapbook for an hour. Add in the driving time, and--yikes--those four hours went by fast! But it was fun and I am looking forward to many more Tuesdays and Thursdays when the girls get to play at preschool and I get to play while they're at preschool!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

Well, I did it! I stayed up until midnight! I didn't think I would this year, but I was engrossed in a project and when I looked at the clock, it was 11:30. (I'm a late-nighter, but I'm usually in bed by 11:30.) I decided I might as well stay up until midnight (last year I actually went to bed a half-hour before!) So, I finished my project and looked at the clock and it was 11:58. Perfect timing! Eric had fallen asleep hours ago reading a book on the living room floor, so I woke him up to give him a kiss and wish him a Happy New Year. Then he went to bed. Right now I am typing to the sounds of firecrackers around the neighborhood. It's a fun sound! Well, I'd better go to bed because I am going hiking/mushroom hunting with Eric, the girls and his dad tomorrow on a 1000-acre ranch north of Santa Barbara (Eric's dad knows the owner). I think I am going to pay for this late-nighter! Oh well,it was fun!

HAPPY 2008!