Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Usual

Blogging about the past weekend, the week so far and anything else that comes to mind....you are forewarned! :D

This past weekend was very fun. Last Friday we went to my sister-in-law's home for a get-together with the Hayward family! They grew up in our church (before I even started attending) and a few years ago, moved down to New Mexico. We haven't seen them in forever, so it was such a blessing to reunite again! Lori (the mom) lived with my husband's family for a while, as a single mom. Then she married Allen and now has 4 kids, that are now all so grown up! Literally...Scott is a junior in high school and 6'4"! So anyhow, they are all like family. We had a huge spread of grilled salmon, hamburgers, corn, yummy salad, yada yada yada and fruit pizza. Michelle's fruit pizza is to die for. After eating, we all laughed our heads off telling funny stories. I HAVE to share one here: My brother-in-law, Steve, was shooting arrows into their field via the bow, along with his daughter, Erika. Steve said, "Erika, maybe when you grow up, we can shoot the bow together." Erika says, "Oh, Daddy, *laughs* you'll be dead by then." !! Erika is hilarious. She is bluntly honest, often just blurting what comes to her mind, and often unaware of the content :)

On Saturday, we went to Panera Bread for breakfast. What a great way to start the day. Their egg soufflees are to die for. After that, we went to the Community Center and registered Brilla for swim lessons. Then we went back home so Mike could do some work. Work on the weekend is not his activity of choice, but lately, necessary. I decided to take a nap because we'd gotten to sleep late and I was pooped. Later in the evening, Steve, Michelle and the girls came over to look at the Corolla we're selling. And they also came bearing Papa Murphy's pizza, and ice cream!! Yum. Steve and the girls then started mowing our lawn. (Yark work is Steve's hobby) Mike got in on it, too, seeing it is our yard! Then we all came inside after an invasion of the misquitos. I have the welts to prove it. We talked and watched some videos before finally turning in. Another late night...

Mike did not sleep well that night and neither did I. Brilla and I went to church after all; I was on nursery duty, I had cooked a meal for the potluck, and I wanted to hold the two newborns at church! It ended up being a delightful morning...yes, I did get to hold the babies. My friends Erienne and Desi just had their babies Carter and Acadia this last week. There's nothing like holding a sweet babe!! I cannot wait for God to give me another one some day soon.
Upon returning home, Mike did not feel good and we were exhausted. We were going to attend our dear friend's birthday, little Noah was turning one, but just didn't have the gumption. We were sad to miss it! However, we ended up catching up on sleep and buying a few groceries at the store.

Monday was a busy day (do you all ever feel like they're catch-up days??). So I caught up with paperwork, paid bills, completed quarterlies, mailed pics to my Grandma and then headed to the mall. I had planned on going to the mall earlier in the week to buy myself a swimsuit, but it never happened. So to Marshall's we went. I found a cute swimsuit that actually looks decent on me. I'll have to post a pic of it soon. (A pic of the swimsuit, not me in the swimsuit :P) It was a Michael Kors 2-piece for only $30. Yey! And I got Brilla some new Sunday shoes, since her toes currently hang over the front of the old ones :P That's it! I controlled myself in buying only the items I needed. But the secret is now out....

Usually, we let B play on the toys at the mall without putting coins in, because she doesn't know the difference. But, yesterday, while she was on a toy, another girl climbed in, and the nice mom put in coins for both of them to ride it. Part of me was like, "No! She doesn't know it's more exciting than this! Don't put the coins in!" But I guess she has to find out some time. And yesterday was that time. I was a bit embarrassed by how thrilling the ride was for Brilla. She was so excited, she was giggling at about 1,000 decibals. My girl lets it all out! Maybe she'll forgot about the coins next time...

We arrived home for lunch and nap time. Then I taught piano. We recently bought air conditioning, so it was nice and cool. Then we rushed out of the house to swim lessons, which we ended up arriving in plenty of time for. It's a parent/tot class, and B loved every minute. Next time, we're going to stay for open swim swim as well so she can get more time in the water. It was killing her to leave last night. Her eyes gazed longingly at all the beautiful water.

Bible club went well, too. Two boys showed up. We played frisbee, learned the Bible verse, "Be sure your sins will find you out." To illustrate the truth of this verse, Mike told the Pocketwatch Story...about a boy who establishes a habit of lying and evetually ends up getting caught when he's an adult. Then the kids had huge ice cream cones; and we sent them home, where they probably bounched off the walls :)

Today I am planning to mop my kitchen. It's horrid. Then it's dishes and laundry. When I'm finally hot and sick of housework, we'll probably head to the beach to cool off. All afternoon I am teaching, so dinner is something I'll have to think about soon. Right now, I should probably get out of my jammies and get started on some of that cleaning.

Here's to another unusually hot day in Western WA!

Friday, July 24, 2009

How Do You Get Past It?

Today I am going to put flowers on Amelia's grave. It is 8 months since she went to heaven. We haven't been to the cemetery for a while, you know, life just gets going. But it doesn't mean she's not right behind my heart. Our hearts.

Someone asked me the other day how I was able to handle losing Amelia. Hate to phrase it like this, but "get past the pain." In reality, we heal, but there will always be a scar. I thought deep, and I knew the answer. Thankfulness, praise and contentment. Wanting something I can't have, without end, leads to discontent and bitterness. I experienced that first hand.

It was hard to hear that other women were pregnant and holding new babies because that was supposed to be me.

But the more grievous our trial, "He giveth more grace." By God's grace alone, I have been able to soak up His goodness, rather than the unfairness of life. His attributes of unchanging and unconditional love, faithfulness, solidarity, might, Healer, omniscience, and so many others have caught my attention by this trial, unlike all other times.

That He has conquered death astounds me and continues to give me hope.

Each time I get my eyes off my circumstances, my problems, and get to the place of praising God, all the pain that I've been carrying slowly sheds. And when I see how good I really have it compared to others, how blessed I am to be a mom when some ladies have never had that chance, to be a wife when some have not had that chance or have lost their spouse; the thankfulness swallows up the longing, the wishing for something God has not planned for me right now.

It's not positive thinking, the power of a heightened mental state, it's spiritual. His Spirit giving me joy. The joy of the Lord is my strength. A gift straight from heaven.

"The Lord your God is with you...He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

I love this quote from Augustine, "God is not a deceiver that He should offer to support us, and then, when we lean upon Him, should slip away from us."

Here is more truth from Psalm 139...

"O Lord, you have searched me, and known me. You know my down sitting and my uprising, you understand my thought afar off.
You compass my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.
There is not a word in my tongue, but lo, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You have beset me behind and before, and laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
Where shall I go from your spirit? or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend up into heaven, you are there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
Even there shall your hand lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, 'Surely the darkness shall cover me,' even the night shall be light about me.
Yes, the darkness hides not from you; but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to you."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Here are some pics of the Snoqualmie train ride we took:

Snoqualmie River

A river near North Bend

We were originally going to take the train from Tacoma to Seattle via Amtrak, but it was a less expensive and a shorter trip to take the Snoqualmie train to North Bend and back. 'Twas the perfect ride for our squirmy girl and was relaxing at the same time.

Brilla had been looking forward to riding the choo-choo train for a very long time. It was also Mike's first time riding a train. However, I am a seasoned veteran ;) When I was younger, my mom took us on a home school "field trip"...a train ride around the border of the entire United States. It was quite the adventure! Unfortunately, my mom soon discovered she got motion sickness on those trains and did not feel well the whole trip, but other than that, it was a blast ;) We got to see places I'd never been...D.C., Chicago, Boston, Orlando, Albequerque, and lots more. Anyway, back to the Snoqualmie train ride...

Afterward, we took some time to browse shops, look at the huge tree (pictured), peek at the Railway museum and even grab an Emerald City smoothie! And it was a gorgeous day. Doesn't get better than than that.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I am retiring...

...flip-flops. I wore them a few weeks ago for 2 days straight and my poor little feet were sore for a week! I am tired of having to recover. So I am retiring my non-support flip-flops and flats. It's too bad, really. I had just recently bought a cute pair of flats from Ann Taylor (don't laugh, Susi, you know which ones!) and now I must say good-bye. Good arch support is the only way to go from now on. However, I can still wear the cute heels. They are kind to me for some reason! If you are at all interested, I am giving away all these shoes to Salvation Army anyway, here are pics of my shoes. Most of them are either hardly worn, or still in great shape. If you're local, drop me a post and we can meet up some time to transfer. Btw, these are size 8/8 1/2:

Size 8. Gap.

Size 8. Ann Taylor. Brand-new.

8 1/2. Bought these at Target; good brand. Hardly worn.

Size 8. Montego Bay. Still in great shape.

Size 8. Ann Taylor. These go with everything!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Camping or Bust!

Literally, if I did not go camping like I've been wanting to do for the past 3 years, I would probably bust! On Friday evening, we headed down to Port Townsend, to camp at Fort Worden State Park. It is an area very high in demand for camping so we were lucky (blessed!) to actually get a spot. Someone had cancelled their reservations the morning just before I called.

We arrived later than we would have liked, but...we did arrive with still some sun left to put our tent up. And quite honestly, we did a bang up job of it. Pretty good for not having set it up before. Brilla thought it was all a wonderful game! Sleeping in the tent, sleeping with Mommy and Daddy, staying up late - she loved every bit. And surprisingly, she stayed dry for the two nights we were there, saving it for the big potty once we woke up the next morning. Such a big girl :)

However, we forgot about 3 huge things: our camping stove, Kitty (Brilla's beloved stuffed animal), and sleeping bags. It's not that we didn't have any bedding. I brought our flannel sheets, quilt and extra blanket to put on the queen air mattress. But it was freezing still. Sleeping bags would have kept our tootsies much warmer. As for the stove, that was a bummer. I was looking forward to cooking cheeseburgers and mouth-watering breakfasts. Fortunately, Port Townsend has a downtown area, and we were able to eat out for those meals we had planned to cook for. Yes, it were camping like a couple of preppies! Lunch was nice since I had brought the fixings. But next time we will double-check for the stove. And I don't know how Kitty did not make the boat. Brilla did pretty well without him (not a single tear). We kept telling her that Kitty was watching the house while we were gone. She liked that :)

The actual camping experience was wonderful. Sitting inside the tent with our lantern on, telling stories. Roasting marshmallows and making s'mores. Yum. During one afternoon, Bri and I went to the beach while Daddy napped. It was a beautiful day for the shore! B was in her element, scooping sand up and making "houses". Running around in her swimsuit, taking occasional dips in the salty water; she was extremely busy ;) I, on the other hand, was perfecting the art of relaxation. I had my sunscreen slathered on and laid out on my towel to do some serious magazine reading. It was great...even when B thought it would be fun to pour a shovel-full of sand over said magazine. I buried her feet in return so then we were even. Though somehow I think she liked me burying her feet more than I liked her pouring sand on my stuff.

Later during the night, we drove into town and got B a big ice cream cone. It was the custard-like, thick, homemade type of ice cream and it was good. We walked around and window-shopped. Fortunately for Mike, most of the shops were closed ;) It rained that night, and my wisdomly intuition ;) had thought to put the rain slip up over the tent. So we arrived back at the site to dry things. I tried to boil water in the kettle, by placing in on our cast iron skillet, over the fire, but to no avail. Hot cocoa, coffee and tea were a no-go, except that I eventually bought some in town the next day. There's something about being able to boil your own water and make hot drinks around the campfire that I very much missed.

The next morning, we went for breakfast at McD's. Then we packed our stuff up. When I was young and at home, my parents used to go for day trips in Port Townsend and other peninsulas in that area. Chetzemoka Park was an old haunt. It's a sweet little park with a gazebo, play area, flower garden, and access to the beach. So after we had everything packed into the car, we found the park. It was soggy but just as I remembered it. I would have loved for B to play on the toys, but a wet bottom is not something you can afford on a long trip home. We opted for a little walk.

Unfortunately, my camera is something else I forgot! I had a detailed checklist, but in the rush to get out, we left it behind. Super sad. So I have only camera phone shots of the trips, and not that many. Once I find out how to upload them onto cd, I will have them on here. Any tips, Brian or someone else? And if anyone wants camping information on Fort Worden, just ask.

Now it is Monday morning. I am looking at the aftermath of the camping trip all over our living room. It will be an interesting day, as I also see B left things out on the deck while we were gone that shouldn't have been left out. Honestly, though, I am SO glad to be home! Amazing how being gone for only a weekend helps you appreciate being back.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Baby Manuel Gone to Jesus

Please pray for my young friend, Chantrea. Her 8-week old baby, Manuel, has gone to be with Jesus in heaven.

Just a few days ago, she and Manuel were taking pictures with Grandma and family, but this weekend, he was simply found not breathing. For those of you who have lost babies, you know how hard this can be and what a long journey she will have to walk. Not only has she lost Manuel, but Chantrea also lost her mother a couple years ago. Please cry with her, pray for her, and ask she be aware that God loves her immensely, amidst the deep aching pain in her heart.

You are missed, precious Baby Manuel~

Monday, July 6, 2009

Getting better

This cold is a doozy. Yesterday, doing small chores and reading was all I could to keep myself from being a complete zombie. I let myself be a zombie for several hours our of the day anyway.

I was still feeling pretty bad, but we got out of the house. It was hot inside. I came out armed with tissue, chap stick, and antibacterial gel. We stopped by Target to get chicken soup, cough drops and more tissue. We had planned to walk around the mall area (Target's connected to the mall), but it was after 6:30 on Sunday and it had already closed. So we stopped by Quizno's for a couple Steak Bistro Melt sammies (delicious!) and visited Barnes & Noble. You may have noticed this is one of our favorite things to do. I browsed Glamour and Rachael Ray. When a girl has a huge sinus headache and a fountain of a runny nose, she is not the least bit interested in fashion, as I quickly discovered. But the food magazine was better. It gave a craving for the chicken soup I just bought.

After arriving back home, we tucked in the super energetic, but incredibly whiny Brilla :), then delved yet even further into Season 7 of 24. It got my mind off my cold, but kept my it busy while I was trying to sleep. It was repeatedly thinking up optional endings for the episode. *Sigh* I also kept having to blow my nose, drink water, go to the bathroom, etc., ad nauseum, until finally I opted for the living room couch so my poor husband could get some sleep of his own. The couch was a good choice, as I finally fell asleep around 2 am.

I am getting better! My huge sinus headache is gone. But I am still constantly blowing my nose and clearing my throat. Hence, the extra time for writing here.

I have decided not to teach piano today. I always tell the kids not to come to lessons if they are sick. This is usually because children are not the best at hygiene, wiping noses with sleeves and hands, or sneezing all over the piano. But I really don't want them catching this nasty bug if I can help it. This will give me another day to rest up. I've learned the hard way that you can dive right back into things too soon.

Having just eaten a scrumptious BLT (turkey bacon is the best), I am ready for a shower and nap. Maybe as I'm falling asleep, I'll drink tea and read my recent library find, The Choice.

Perhaps tomorrow I will be back to my usual self and ready to share more exciting adventures :)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Week's End

I am very sick today! Yes, bummer. My head feels like a balloon and my nose feels even bigger. So I thought I would cheer myself up by blogging about my really great week.

On Monday, I was Miss Efficient and got tons of stuff done. It felt nice to be somewhat prepared for the week ahead. For Bible club, only one lone soul came...Patience. But we read a Bible story, played games, and sang a few fun songs anyway. It was nice to have it laid back since, truthfully, we were exhausted from the previous weekend.

Tuesday was go-to-the-park-with-friends day!! We went to Jefferson Park by invite of our friend Erienne and little Blake. We hung out with our other mom friends (two of whom are VERY pregnant) and their kiddos. Jefferson Park has a free water-splash park, which I'm sure many of you are familiar with. But we had never seen one before! So it was extra surprising and fun! Unfortunately, Bri was a little unnerved by the water coming from every which direction, so most of her time was spent running around the water, but, hey, at least she had fun. She is an ocean, lake and bath lover, but not one for water from above. She'd probably never make it under a waterfall ;) I wish I had brought my camera. Sometimes I just want to relax and not take photos. But then I also miss out on many precious moments.

On Wednesday, we went strawberry picking! Red hands and red mouths were quite the fashion amongst our toddlers that day. Picha farms has the most amazing juicy strawberries around. Usually, I buy them by the box-full and make yummy freezer-jam. But this time, hand-picking sounded extra fun...and cheaper. It was relaxing to chat with the gals as we picked - not really caring what our toddlers were doing or eating. Ahem. Actually, our toddlers did well, there's really no harm they could do. I kept fearing they would topple over on my box of berries, however. And smoosh my efforts to smithereens. Fortunately, that never happened. I almost forgot to mention that my big little bro, Brian, joined us, too. He got himself a nice bunch. After two long hours of picking, we decided to call it quits...and head to a local coffee shop!

It was nice to be out of the heat and chill with everyone. We did have quite the crowd in there. We even knew the barista, Erika. She is sisters with Erienne, and we all know her. She's also very single. And gorgeous. And loves Jesus. Okay, enough of that :) Anyway, Erika did an awesome job on our drinks, giving Brilla a fancy-schmancy chocolate milk with whip cream and sprinkles on top. Brilla has been reading Fancy Nancy lately, so she gobbled it right up and said, "It's fancy like Nancy!" Meanwhile I sipped my delicious toasted marshmallow iced espresso drink. It was truly divine. Thanks, Erika. After our drinks, B and I left to meet up with B's uncles, Brian and Sean, for lunch at Steamers. We were really living it up!

On Thursday, B and I met with our friends Sarah, Caden and Noah. We met in the new play area
at Southcenter Mall. There is a strategically placed Starbucks nearby, where we got snacks and cold drinks. Inside an air-conditioned placed felt sooo good. Sarah is my close friend, and we were able to have some heart-to-heart talks. Friends are truly gifts from God. After saying "good-bye" all around, we headed home for naps and piano teaching.

Friday was yet another meet-up day! But this time, it was in the ordinary business of doing things...I had to get my car looked at by a friend who happens to be a mechanic, and owns a Chevron Auto Station. While we waited, it was ohso convenient to hang with my friend (his wife) Meghan and her three kids at another splash park, this time in Auburn. The park was within walking distance of the auto station! What usually is an annoying must (car work) turned out to be so much fun! We ate lunch while the kids splashed around. We were going to get the "free lunches" put out by the city of Auburn, but they ended up not doing it that day. I guess the city of Auburn has a summer program where many of the parks give out free lunches Monday-Friday, 12:00-12:30, under the concept of not wanting any child to go hungry. What a wonderful program. Thankfully, I had brought a back-up lunch, though and we went on our merry way.
After sweltering under the heat (Friday was a hot, hot day!!), we decided to head back. Again, we headed home to get cooled off and take naps. I should have taken one! But instead, I went to get my eyebrows and lip waxed. If I had fine hair and less of it, I would do it myself. But for only $14, it's well worth it. The place I go to, Salon Avida and Spa, does an amazing job. I don't get my hair done, I don't get pedicures/manicures, I don't spend tons of money on makeup, so I figure I can spend a little money on facial hair :) I felt so neat and clean afterward.

I said I should have taken a nap because a couple hours later, we were smack-dab in the middle of our church's 3rd of July block party! Mike ran the inflatable slide attraction, while I brought cherries, pineapple and cantaloupe for the food line. There were about 600 in attendance. It all lasted for about 4 hours and after being in more sweltering heat, eating way too much sugar, and having a great time with church family and friends, we were tired. Around 10:00 we watched fireworks in our church's really cool open field. Unfortunately, my throat felt very cottony, and I had a bad headache.

Then yesterday was Independence Day! Once again, I forgot my camera :( But everyone else took a ton of photos. My scratchy/cottony throat and runny nose were full blown and basically, I felt just under miserable the whole time. However, that didn't keep me from enjoying it the best I could. I had some wonderful beef kabobs, kudos to Tim, and freshly grilled halibut, thanks to my mom. I probably shouldn't have all the dessert I did, but I couldn't resist. My m-i-l had made her soft oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (my favorite), and there was banana pudding and classic apple pie with whip cream. I forgot to mention this is all on the water front of Lake Tapps, thank to my Dad, who works at a local energy company and gets free access to its park. It was such a beautiful moonlit evening and we got a 4-star view of the fireworks. We wrapped it all up about 11:30 p.m. I can't tell you how awful my cold/allergy (can't figure out which one) had gotten, but needless to say, I got a horrible sleep last night. I could not breathe and I had a super dry throat.

This morning, I feel awful again, but hope to get lots of rest. Thus ends my glorious week out in the sun with friends and family! Please pray for me as I (hopefully, quickly) get over this stuff :P