Monday, July 30, 2012

What happens when you arm your kids with Reddi-wip?

Sometimes Chris has selective hearing.  He has a tremendous ability to tune people (the kids and I) out.  Usually, he thinks this is a good thing.  But on his birthday it didn't work out that way! 

At lunch the kids were talking to him about the cake he wanted to eat.  He had decided to keep it simple and have strawberry shortcake.  Thank goodness!  So they started talking to him about Reddi-wip. 

It's not something we have in our house very often and the novelty was pretty exciting.  Well, at one point during the conversation, the kids got excited about the idea of taking Chris outside and spraying him with the whipped cream.  Since he wasn't actually listening, he agreed to their idea.  Later that night, we reminded him of what he had agreed to.  Then the fun began! 


Then they got to hose him down, and somehow everyone walked away wet.  It was a lot of fun - for us!  And just maybe he learned a lesson about listening.  I'm not crossing my fingers though.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

When your mother-in-law is right...

So, when your mother-in-law is right, sometimes you just have to admit it.  And this time, she was right. 

When we started signing up Sophia for t-ball years ago, Chris' mom suggested that we join the swim team instead.  She pointed out that all four of our kids could practice at the same time at the same location, and attend all of the same meets.  We wouldn't be splitting our time between different ball fields.  Hot ball fields.  With no shade.  And, she said the swim parents were always super supportive cheering on all the kids - even the slowest ones. 

We didn't listen.  At first.  Mainly because Sophia wasn't ready to join the swim team yet.  So we sat at the hot, dry ball fields for two years watching her play t-ball.  I'm not going to lie when I say t-ball is painfully boring to me.  On our third year, Sophia had moved up to coach pitch and Anna was playing t-ball.  We spent 4 nights a week at different ball fields.  A lot of times their games overlapped and some of Sophia's games were out of town, so we never seemed to be together as a family.  Honestly, Sophia just wasn't any good at hitting coach pitch and the parents/coaches from other teams were scary.  Really scary.  I was not prepared for the aggressiveness of softball and left every game pretty fired up about that.  I was one of those parents who just wanted the kids to do their best and have fun.  By our fourth year, we got a little smarter.  But only a little.  Sophia joined the swim team, but Anna was still playing t-ball.  Again, Chris and I were always heading in different directions trying to get each girl to a different spot.  Not fun for anyone. 

But then, year five came along and we finally got smart.  We finally put both girls on the swim team and only the swim team.  They both went to the same practices and meets all summer long.  NICE!  And, yes, Chris' mom was right.  The swim parents are pretty awesome.  They cheer for all the kids.  The fast ones, the average ones, and especially the slow ones.  Even the parents and timers from other teams sometimes cheered for our kids.  Don't get me wrong, we all want our kids and our team to win, but I don't think there was ever a single child who left there feeling unsupported.  And, in case you're wondering it is cooler by the pool than by the shadeless ball fields. 

Last weekend at our league meet there was a freak accident.  Somehow, after a gust of wind a large tree crashed down on several shade tents where swimmers and their families were sitting about 100 feet away from us.   It was scary.  And there were injuries.  Severe ones.  Like, get the chainsaws out to free people.  Take head counts of your team.  Clear the way for emergency vehicles.  Broken necks, ankles, and damaged vertebrae. Scary.  But the people all rushed to help.  To do what they could.  To take care of not only their own team members, but complete strangers.  Comforting scared children.  Praying together.  Doing whatever they could.  Because these teams become like families each summer. 

And next year Isabella will join the team.  And eventually, Sam will.   And I think it's clear that Chris' mom was right.  It's been the best activity we could put our children in.  They get awesome workouts.  They learn a life skill.  They build friendships.  And they have fun.  Lots of fun!  And isn't that what summer should be about? 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

On making lists and mini vacations...

In June, we took the kids to Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City thanks to a wonderful Groupon I snagged.  Gotta love Groupon!  Just saying, who doesn't love a good deal?  But, since I didn't call right away to schedule our stay I didn't have any choice on the night we booked.  I was literally the very last person to schedule my stay so there was only one day to choose from.  So, we went on our mini vacation and came home on a Friday night.  On Saturday I hosted a graduation party for Chris at our house and on Sunday I helped with a baby shower for my sister-in-law.  It was not the best time to head out of town, but it was totally worth it! 

If you know me well, you know I'm a list maker.  I make lots of lists.  In fact, I re-write them and often type them just so they'll look more orderly.  That's just how I roll.  Knowing that, you'll understand that if I'm packing (even just for an overnight trip), I make a packing list.  I really don't want to be that girl who is out of town and forgot to pack something important.  Chris is that guy.  Unless I pack for him.  Or give him a list. 

The kids knew we were going on a mini-vacation.  They tried packing their bags a week early.  What some of them packed was ridiculous of course.  Sam had an entire box of Kleenexes, a stuffed animal and a pair of pajama pants.  Nice.  But the night before I told them I was going to check all of their bags to make sure they had what they needed.  Sophia told me I didn't need to look in her bag because she had made a list.  She handed it to me.  It was on a clipboard and had check off boxes.  Melt my heart!   I've taught her well!  Here's a picture. 

In case you can't read it.  Here's what she packed.  For one night, remember. One night.
2 swimsuits
3 pairs of panties
2 socks
3 pairs of clothes
6 band aids (my kids are addicted)
1 pair of PJ's
1 flashlight
1 charm bracelet
1 clock
1 polar bear
1 pillow
3 books

I guess she likes to be over-prepared like her Mom.  We had an awesome time at Great Wolf Lodge.  It was some much needed family time!  I also had the chance to catch up with my best friend from college.  We hadn't seen each other in 9 1/2 years.  YIKES!  I promise I will not let that much time pass again! 

We haven't found the time or the money this year for a regular vacation yet, so here's hoping we can at least schedule several more mini vacations!   We all need a break sometime! 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I survived CIY!

June is over.  It's shocking to me how fast the month flew by.  I have so many things I wanted to write about and completely ran out of time.  So, be patient as I backtrack a bit.  Some of these posts will be out of order.  Well, most of them will be.  But better late than never right? 

First of all, I'd like a shirt that says "I survived CIY!"  Seriously.  And while I'm thinking about it, I'd like it to be black with glow in the dark letters.  Because so much of what took place last week was late at night.  Averaging a few hours of sleep (as in 3-4...yikes!) for 7 straight days takes a toll on a person! 

We got home late Saturday night from taking 13 teens (+ our 4 kiddos) to a week-long Christ In Youth (CIY) conference in Colorado.  Thank goodness for the other two adult sponsors.  Chuck and Amanda, you guys were AMAZING!  While I went in expecting to be fired up for God, I never expected the conference to be so emotional.  We really dug deep into forgiveness, fatherlessness and transitioning from our ideas of an earthly father to our heavenly father, the role of the church, and becoming Kingdom Workers.  So awesome, but so deeply emotional at the same time.  We live in a broken world and so many of us there were broken.  It was heart wrenching and humbling at the same time that people were so honest in telling their stories. 

Beyond that though, it was fun!  A lot of fun.  As my kids pointed out -- rock concert fun!  Nothing like worshiping in a room with 1100+ teenagers to get your blood pumping each day.  We took hundreds of photos, but here are a few from the week.  I'll keep them to mostly my family so I don't embarrass the teens.  But, look for more (as in almost 300) pictures that I'll get downloaded onto Facebook soon! 

Ready to leave Valley Center.  Two church vans and a mini van, good times! 

Sand Dunes National Park.

Those three dots are my girls at the bottom of the hill if that tells you how steep it was!  And yes, Chris was totally dragging Sam down the hill.  I'm not sure if his feet ever touched the ground!  

Ready to hike down into Durango to do some shopping and get some frozen yogurt!

Praying for each other.  We did 4 baptisms on the spot and have 3 more to do now that we're back home.  We had a ton of recommitments and also had 2 teens commit to full-time vocational ministry.  Such an awesome thing God was doing in the lives of our teens! 

Like I said, "rock concert!"  The lead singer is in that giant ball being passed around by a thousand teenagers.  If that isn't trust, I don't know what is! 

And new friends who making doing ministry together so much more enjoyable! 

A special thanks to Chris' parents, Jane & Howard.  They came all the way to Durango to help us with the kiddos and spent their day shuffling them back and forth to us so we could spend every possible minute we could with them.  We could not possibly have done it without them! 

And now, the laundry is finally done and put away. I lost count of how many loads I did over the last two days.  The kids are almost caught up on their sleep. And I might finally be able to process everything from the week.

One last thought, the closest wildfire was only 3.5 miles away.  Depending on the direction of the wind, a couple of days the smoke was everywhere.   Pray with me for gentle rain to fall down on Colorado minus the lightening and unpredictable wind please! 

What a great week!