What we did and when we did it. Sometimes.

What we did and when we did it. Sometimes. People, places and events to remember.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Funny kids

So I last posted in August. I think it was 3 months ago, yesterday. I'm a little behind.

Rather than catch the blog up on everything that's happened this fall, I just want to note a few conversations.

While getting ready for school this morning ...
Evan: What are you, Corrie?
Corrie: I'm a princess. What are you?
Evan: I'm a Transformer. What is your name?
Corrie: Princess Corrie. What is your name?
Evan: Powerformer.
Corrie: I love you.
Evan: I love you, too.

Corrie: I'm a fairy princess. Do you want to be a princess?
Me: Sure.
Corrie: OK. I will zap you. Zap! Do you want a wand?
Me: Yes!
Corrie: Zap! Now you have a wand.
Me: (sings Bibbity Bobbity Boo and finish while tapping Corrie on the nose)
Corrie: (pause) Am I a coach?
Me: Oh, um, sure.
Corrie: (bursts into tears) I don't want to be a coach! I want to be a fairy princess!
Me: I'm so sorry. Zap!
Corrie: (no more tears) I am a fairy princess.

At prayer time ...
Evan: Dear Lord, you are the God of Gods, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Emperor of Emperors, President of Presidents.

Can I just say that I enjoy these kids? They delight me.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Back to School

Evan starts kindergarten on Monday. He will go to school all day - from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. He has a uniform: red polo shirt (tucked in), khaki or navy shorts, and a belt. I have bought all his school supplies and taken him for a haircut. His sneakers still fit. I realized today that I failed to get him a backpack, but he does have a brand new Mystery Machine (Scooby Doo) lunchbox.

I realize that he will be fine. It's me that I'm worried about!

He's my boy. I'm going to miss hanging out with him every day. And I wonder what changes school will bring. Will he make a lifelong friend? Will he quickly learn to read - and love to read - like his dad and I do? Will he be able to sit still for that long? Will he influence his class and his school for Christ?

I think he's amazing. Smart. Verbal. Imaginative. Justice, rule and structure-oriented. Loves to tell stories. Likes to make up new games. Climbs anything taller than himself. He's my hugger. He still climbs on my lap for a snuggle, even though he tells me very seriously, "no kisses." He helps his sister with juice boxes and videos. He loves to swim and wrestle with his dad.

Conversations with him are always a surprise. After being disciplined the other day, he told me "Every person has a part to play in this life. I don't think this is my part." When he prays, he often says, "Thank you, Lord, for everything. Just, everything." And then he wonders why I add more specific prayers, "Why, Mom? I just prayed for everything."

Corrie and I will miss him this fall. I'm sure we'll get into a good routine, and I will love having some time alone with my girl, but it will be different. Last year, when he went to preschool, she threw a minor fit one afternoon. "I want my brother named Evan NOW!" I'm anticipating more of the same.

May God guide and protect you, dear one. Be strong and courageous, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sweet Home Chicago

We've been back from our Chicago vacation for two days now. It's good to be home, but oh, Chicago was good for my soul.

I ate lots of pizza (Lou Malnati's, Giordano's and Rosati's), enjoyed Chipotle, Jimmy John's, Aloha Eats and Pita Inn, went to the zoo, sent the boys to Legoland, and attended a baby shower, but the best part ... the very best part ... was seeing my friends - our Chicago family.

When you count college, we lived in the Chicago area for 16 years (17 for Emmett). You can get to know people pretty well in 16 years. I've known some of these women from singleness through marriage and now in parenting. It's been awesome to walk through life with them. They know me. They know what excites me, what challenges me, what makes me weird, what makes me fun. They know I'm usually late. They know I talk too much. They like me anyway.

These are the women that I call when I do dumb things (for example: dump a can of mandarin oranges directly in the trashcan instead of the salad bowl). They are the people I call when I'm struggling with a decision. They are the ones I commiserate with when I make a bad call as a parent, or when I know God is asking me to do something that I don't want to do. They inspire me and encourage me.

I should shout it from the rooftops: these relationships are one of God's greatest gifts to me! I don't thank Him (or them) enough for their presence in my life.

And our church! I know it's a cliche ... but if I could bottle how it felt to be at Good News Bible Church on Sunday morning, I would make a fortune.

Sigh ...

Now that we're back home in Texas, I feel more motivated to make connections. I've been reminded how God can bring just the right people along at just the right time, and I trust that He has a place for me here. I'm refreshed and rejuvenated and ready to pour into life here.

Thank you to my Chicago friends. You know who you are. I love you.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lists, lists and more lists

Exciting times!

We have had a busy few weeks. Some highlights:
  • I attended my first Young Lives meeting at a local high school. It's exciting to see these young moms getting together to encourage each other. It was fun to play games with the girls! Now, I'm waiting for God's direction - should I plan to get involved in Young Lives or Teen MOPS this fall? Or does He have another place for me?
  • Easter! Our first Easter in Texas ... made particularly special by cascarones. I made some with the kids and bought some from a roadside vendor. Also special because we celebrated with some college students. They were great with our children, and I'm looking forward to hanging out with the girls some more.
  • I had two dentists appointments. I don't like going to the dentist.
  • I had a flat tire. Then a flat spare. Then some Good Samaritans put air in the spare so I could get to Wal-Mart. Got a new tire and hung out with Evan in the Lego section for a long while. Good bonding time with my son!
  • Corrie had nursemaid's elbow. Ouch! It was a quick and easy fix by our doctor, but difficult to see my daughter in pain. She's normally such a tough little girl, that seeing her crying and hurt was really a shock.
  • We cut down some palm branches from a tree in the yard. Evan went around singing "Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna to the high king!" (Not exactly how the song goes). Corrie loved waving her palm branch and shouting "Posanna!" Emmett and I got a good chuckle out of that one.
  • Corrie also LOVES Dora and Diego. Lately, whenever she needs help, she says "Ayudame!" which means "help me!" in Spanish. She also walks down the sidewalk and jumps over all the cracks, announcing "I say it louder. JUMP!" She's a cutie. And she can count to ten, but she does the first half in Spanish and the second half in English. And she doesn't always remember all the numbers.
  • Star Wars is everywhere! Evan can turn any game or situation into something Star Wars-related. The kids and I were pretending to be a train. Corrie was the conductor; Evan was the engineer. I asked Evan where the train should stop. His answer: "The rebel base in Force-ville."

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Weekend Recap

Someday I really will post pictures ... but it will not be today.

The past few weeks have been busy, but so good.

  • I hosted a garage sale for a friend going on a missions trip this summer, and we raised over $1300. Can you believe it? That's 4 times as much as I thought we might raise. Praise the Lord!
  • We attended our first life group meeting. Our church is starting a bunch of small groups, and we are excited to be involved.
  • We had dinner with four other church couples on Friday night. It's a super cool idea. The church provides childcare, while all the "young adult" couples are divided into groups of 8-10. The groups meet at one of the couples' homes and share a potluck meal together. It was good to meet other people - we didn't know anyone else in our group before we got there. I think it'll make our big church feel a lot smaller. It's nice to recognize a few faces when you go to service.
  • What else? Evan had a soccer game on Saturday. Corrie and I did some shopping. And the four of us joined another family for an outing to "Onionfest," an annual festival in Weslaco. Highlights of Onionfest included the bloomin' onion, the fajita nachos, Evan scaling a rock wall, and Corrie rockin' out to the live music. Our girl loves to dance.
I'm looking forward to a new week.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Welcome to Texas!

They came, they saw, they ... ate! We've been hosting visitors here on and off for the past month. My mom came from Mississippi, Emmett's good friend Eddie came down for a day, and Emmett's parents came down this week. We're not exactly sure what to show people - this isn't exactly a haven for tourists - so we've been taking everyone out to dinner.

Our favorite places:
Rudy's - I think this is a Texas-only kind of place. We LOVE the brisket and potato. BBQ goodness.
Peter Piper Pizza - This is Evan's must-have for lunch. It's the local Chuck E. Cheese, but the pizza tastes about the same.
Costa Messa - Our (Chicago) friends Chris and Kindra gave us a gift certificate to Costa Messa when we moved down here, so it's one of the first places we tried. Yum! It's a loud restaurant, too, with mariachi bands on the weekends, so the kids just blend in with all the other noises. We recommend the botana platter (something that we've only seen in the Valley) and the fajitas.
Taco Palenque - Local fast food, similar to Hawaiian plate lunch ... except with fajitas, Spanish rice and beans instead of katsu, sticky rice and mac salad.
Dai Tung - This is our favorite Valley Chinese place so far. Evan wolfs down the dumplings.

Besides the food, we've kept visits pretty low-key. We've walked around the UTPA campus, played at some local parks, and visited the International Museum of Art and Science in McAllen.

It's been a pleasure to have family and friends visit our new home. It makes life here seem more real, like we've been officially recognized as residents of the Rio Grande Valley.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cowboy Day

One of these days I'm going to figure out how to post pictures on this thing! Actually, I think I already know how, it's just that we forget to download pictures from our camera. And I'm using a new computer, so I've never actually put pictures on this computer.

Today was Cowboy Day at Evan's preschool. They had games, a cowboy lunch, a singalong and a dance. It was fun! Corrie and I were in charge of the "pin the badge on the sheriff" game, along with my friend Claudia. Corrie didn't have much patience for hanging out by the game, so she and I did a fair share of wandering around while the kids were playing games. When it was time for the singalong and dancing, I wondered how Corrie would do. She is on the go all the time, and I doubted that she'd be able to sit still and pay attention. Hooray - I was wrong! She loved listening to the songs, and she enjoyed watching all the dances. Everytime they'd stop performing, she would clap and cheer. "Yay, Evan!" She is super cute.

Evan deserved the cheers. He and his friend Emma had to skip together, do-si-do, and swing your partner. He did everything just like he was supposed to, and he looked like he was taking it all very seriously. He said that his favorite part was when he and Emma got to skip down the line together.

Oh, but this morning ... we all stayed up way too late last night. Evan had soccer practice, and by the time we got the kids home, fed, bathed and into bed, it was 8:30 or 9. Emmett and I stayed up till midnight. So this morning, we were all struggling to get up. Finally everybody was awake and downstairs. I was trying to get the kids dressed for Cowboy Day (hats, boots, jeans, bandanas), plus assemble an easy "Hawaiian chicken" dinner in the crockpot. Corrie wandered over to ask me a question, and while I answered her, I poured a can of mandarin oranges directly into the trashcan. Good grief!

Tonight I am going to bed at a reasonable time. I think I am a better mom (and cook!) when I'm well-rested.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Being Available

During my senior year of college, my friend Jeremy wasn't sure what he would be doing after graduation. He figured he had three options: (1) grad school (2) a job (3) missions. I'm pretty sure he prayed about all three. He also made himself available to do any of them. He applied to grad school, interviewed for jobs, and went on a spring break missions trip overseas. As time went by, God narrowed his options. The jobs and grad school didn't pan out, and his heart and willingness for missions grew and grew. The next year, he went to Russia with IFES (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students).

I'm in a similar boat. Now that we're settled in the Valley, I'm starting to see ministry opportunities all around me. The questions are : Where is God working? And how can I join Him?

I have a passion for working with families in poverty, work experience in a ministry to teenage mothers (shout out to New Moms!), and I'm currently a stay at home mom to two children. What do I do with myself?

Lately, God's been making connections. I've had several conversations about starting a Teen MOPS group here. My husband and I are also applying to be foster parents, possibly to adopt. I've met many moms who are new to the area - who feel disconnected and adrift. We're almost ready to commit to a church that has needs for small group leaders and kids' Sunday School volunteers. There is much potential and opportunity for ministry.

So I'm trying to do what Jeremy did: make myself available. I don't know what to focus on yet, so I'm sowing little seeds in lots of directions. I'm trusting that God will close some doors and open others wide. Lord, give me eyes to see and ears to hear.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Random Sampling

My mind is not together enough for a complete post today. Here are some of the things I've been thinking about:

A. I want to make the most of Evan's last days of preschool and summer. Today we made homemade pizza in circles and triangles for lunch. ("Homemade" is not quite accurate: we assembled store-bought pizza crust, sauce and cheese).

B. Corrie's almost not a baby anymore. She'll be 2 in only a few weeks. She's pushing her boundaries and testing her limits. For example, her new favorite phrase is "No! No, no, no, no, NO WAY!"

C. I need to figure out a way to keep up with friends in far away places. I have one good friend that I call in the afternoons while the kids are napping. We chat at least once a week. (Shout out to Jo!) Then I have a few precious friends that I hardly ever talk to. We've just never had the opportunity to become phone friends because we always lived close by. Some of them are really busy, others just aren't phone people. I'm missing them like crazy.

D. I'm excited for the Super Bowl this Sunday! I grew up rooting for the Saints, and I've rooted for Peyton Manning and the Colts since Tony Dungy started coaching there. I think I'm more for the Colts than the Saints, but it's probably a 60/40 split. (The conversations about Tim Tebow's Super Bowl ad have been interesting, too.)

E. I'm longing for a church home. There are several possibilities here, and I want to be settled somewhere. I miss having a church family - a small group, moms group, kids in Sunday School. I miss serving at church.

I'm sure there are more things rattling around in my head, but five is probably a good enough list for today. Note to self: I should post more about Zumba one of these days. Now I'm off to bed!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A New Voice

I've been attending a MOPS Bible Study at a church nearby. We meet every week to discuss a chapter in The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. This week's topic was "Learning to Speak Life."

So timely! On Sunday, we had to discipline Evan for rude speech. We talked about how our words can bless God and other people, or hurt them. On the way to preschool Monday morning, Evan said, "Guess what I prayed about last night, Mom."

I said, "I don't know. What did you pray about?"

Evan: "No, Mom. You guess."

Mom: "Ummm... you prayed that Corrie would feel better."

Evan: "No."

Mom: "You prayed for Gamma and Papa."

Evan: "No."

Mom: "I give up. What did you pray for?"

Evan: "I prayed that I would have a new voice."

Later that day, we had some other issues with complaining. At bedtime, Evan said, "I guess that prayer didn't work."

Me: "Oh, honey. Jesus said that whatever is in our heart will show in what we say. Let's pray that he'll change your heart. Sometimes that takes a while."

It's hard to talk about these things, because I still need heart change, too. My words do not always bless others. My heart is messy and too often self-focused. I long for "the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart to be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer." (Psalm 19:14)

I need to keep praying this, for my children and for myself.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Typical Day

I've been feeling sentimental. Evan will start kindergarten in September, so this is my last year of having him around during the day. He still goes to preschool three mornings/week, but he's home with Corrie and me on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

So I don't forget a typical preschool day:

7 a.m. Everybody wakes up. Evan usually comes in to check on us, letting us know whether he managed to stay dry all night. Corrie calls from her crib. When I pick her up, she gives me a big hug and "G'Mornin'!"

8 a.m. Hopefully by now, everyone is dressed. Evan gets himself together. He does not like to wear long-sleeved shirts and jeans, so he usually puts on a T-shirt and shorts. He often wears his T-shirts backwards ... on purpose. He likes the designs on the back of shirts, and wants to see the cool pictures.

We eat breakfast.

8:25 I start encouraging everyone to brush teeth and put on shoes, so we can make it to school on time.

8:35 When we should leave the house.

8:45 When we actually do leave the house.

On the drive to school, Evan requests a story about Star Wars. His favorite character is C3PO. In our stories, C3PO always pilots the biggest ship, uses a lightsaber, and defeats the Emperor.

Meanwhile, Corrie likes to sing songs about people we know. She chants their names. Currently, she sings "Mommy, Daddy, Corrie, Evan" and occasionally adds Daniel (her uncle), Jon Jon (a cousin), and Rosie (our dog) to the list.

9:05 We take Evan to his classroom. He is excited to be there. It has been a real blessing this year that he is mostly always glad to go to preschool.

Back in the car! More singing for Corrie!

9:25 Arrive at the gym for my Zumba class. Corrie hangs out in the childcare room with her little friend, Brynn. Brynn's mommy and I go to class.

10:30 Class ends. Corrie and I either run errands or go home for a little while.

12:00 Pick Evan up. If it's a nice day, play on the playground outside preschool for at least 30 minutes.

1:00 By this time, we're either at home or on the way. We have lunch together. Evan loves Flamin' Hot Cheetos, so it's a real treat for him to have a salami sandwich, flamin' hots, and a pear or some carrots. Corrie eats PB&J and some fruit.

1:30 Naptime! Corrie goes down for a couple of hours. Evan and I play a game or two (he likes Uno, Candyland, and a card game called Dinosaur Duel) and read some books. Eventually, I send him upstairs for quiet time. He plays in his room for an hour or so. He either tells Star Wars stories to himself or builds with Legos. Last year at this time, he would have been designing massive dinosaur migrations across his room, complete with rockslides and meteor showers. Now, he builds starships.

3:30 The kids are up and around. I get dinner started while they play. Sometimes we watch a video. Corrie loves Bob the Tomato. We might have a snack.

4:30ish We go outside to play. Evan rides his bike around our cul-de-sac, while Corrie runs in circles (shouting, appropriately: "Circles! Circles!).

5:30 Emmett comes home! Hooray! I finish assembling dinner. We eat together, then play.

6:45 Daddy gives Corrie a bath, while I clean up from dinner or read to Evan. Then we trade. I take Corrie to her room for stories and bedtime, while Emmett gives Evan a bath. After he puts on his PJs, Evan might play with his Dad for a while, or hang out with Mom. We read a book and a Bible story, pray together, then it's bedtime (around 8:00).

I will miss these days.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Concept of the Year

I read a post at Conversion Diary about her word of the year: "fortitude." Jen also mentioned a few other people doing "Joy." I don't know that I have a word of the year, exactly, but I do have a concept.

When we were visiting Emmett's family in Hawaii, we attended a church service at New Hope Diamondhead. The pastor gave a message about "Harvest," their church's vision for 2010.

The anchoring verses were Galations 6:7-9:

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the spirit, from the spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

I've been committing these verses to memory.

2009 was a long, hard, wonderful year. The first half of the year was marked by Emmett's final push to finish his doctorate. The second half of the year began with lots of goodbyes to our friends and our life in Chicago. We moved across the country and began to establish ourselves in a new place.

I feel like we kept seeing God finish things. We experienced a harvest of sorts: graduation, a wonderful job for Emmett, renters for our old house, then a new place to live. There was a great sense of fulfillment and accomplishment.

Now, however, we're at the beginning again. We need to put down roots! A church, friends, ministry to our community, at the university, schooling for the kids ... the list goes on. And I question, "Who are we in this place? What does God have for us here?"

So my concept for the year is ... sowing. Reminding myself to live for the Lord and not for myself. This is a new place, a new field. What kind of seed will I sow?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Here We Go Again ...

I have attempted to blog a few times in the past. When my son was born in 2005, my husband and I set up an info page for our parents and friends. That lasted about 6 weeks. Then, a few years later, I decided to get an account on xanga, because a few friends from college were using xanga to keep in touch. That has also fallen by the wayside.

So here I am, at my third attempt. I'm motivated to do this now because it's January. I love new beginnings. I've made resolutions, I've joined a gym, and now I'm starting a blog ... again. We're also starting our first year in our new home, in our new state, with Emmett's new job. I feel like things have been "beginning" for us since August.

I know this post isn't really about anything, but I will post more soon. I just wanted to get things rolling.