Saturday, March 27, 2010

the things we do for our kids

Today was a prime example. We LOVE AWANA. Our kids have been involved for I think 4 years now. Mike and I have been leaders for as long. One thing the kids really enjoy are the games. Now, I like game time, as does every other AWANA leader. Once a year, local AWANA's gather together and compete against each other in these unique games developed for and by AWANA.

This is where the "because I love you" comes in. A few weeks ago I paid $5 to sit on hard benches, fuss at S &A and cheer K & J and their fellow T&Ters on to victory. This means sitting for about 2 hours to get every team "checked in" and another two hours watching the kids play these games that only have meaning to the one's participating. J's team won the right to move on to the "state" competition which was held today in Richmond.

Soooo we had to leave our house by 7:30, which means I had to be up at 6:30, well 6:45, in order to be ready to leave on time. Because we have a 1 1/2 hour drive to unfamiliar territory for 10:00 check in. We arrived at 9:45. At 12, the games hadn't started, instead we'd watched the older kids get awards for their bible quiz and got our obligatory preaching. I know that AWANA is to teach the boy's and girl's about the salvation offered by Jesus, but I don't know why they think that a 30 minute sermon is necessary before the games. Um, you've got over 100 kids sitting on a gym floor waiting to run in circles, and all of the assorted people that were ,drug came to support them. A short 5 minute object lesson would be appropriate, not a 30 minute sermon. Ugh.

Finally, the games began, and the kids played hard and earned second place for their "circle". But, they were the highest scoring second place team. This qualified them for the final championship round. Yeah, we get to stay for another round! "To begin immediately." 30 minutes later, much to our dismay excitement, these kids, who hadn't eaten since we arrived, began another round. (it's about 2:00 now)

It was hard for our kids to see the victory in their 4th place out of 4 teams (they didn't place in a single game this time) except for my J who is always the sportsman and said "I got a gold medal last week". But, when they heard the "games" started with 40 teams they bucked up. Now, I've got to give my baby a shout out now. For a 5 year old, A did amazingly well. I'm still in shock that he wasn't having total meltdowns and kicking everyone around us (did I mention it was REALLY crowded). But, in the end...just like so many things we do for our kids ONLY because they are ours and it's important to them, the day was worth it because our J had a great time. We did spend a little time exploring around Richmond after and discovered a cool outdoorsy store called Gander Mountain that we like better than Bass Pro (they gave us a $10 off coupon for that comment) and the boy's even made it home to fish a little.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

the count is over

Forgive me for my tardiness is writing this, our count ended a few days ago at day 39 and since then we've all been basking in the joy of having Mike home. Our reunion day was typical army. We were given a report time of 2-3. Their plane arrive during that time an hour away. However after sitting for an hour we learned they were being held up in customs. So, my friend and I decided to head out to McDonald's to allow our children to run out their energy, for which we had little patience. We spent several hours there before heading to my house to watch Mama Mia. Turns out the Dept. of Agriculture didn't like their dirty boots. And 200 soldiers had to get their boots cleaned. They finally made it to post around 8:20. By 10:00 we were all home. They were given the next 2 days off and this week has been short days as they do redeployment paperwork (that's what they call the coming home stuff) classes like "don't hit your family" and "talk to someone if you feel disturbed by what you saw". K told Mike today that she didn't think he'd need to talk to anyone. Mike lost about 15 pounds while he was gone, and we're doing our best to put them back on him.

He did get to see us all test for our first stripe at TKD, although the instructor's car had broken down, so K still hasn't broken a board. Hopefully that will happen tomorrow night. So, that's a quick recap on us.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 36-and cantankerous!

that's what i've been feeling all day. Good things are happening and I'm just determined to be, well, cantakerous. I just read a friend's post and apparently she's been going through the same things. Make's me wonder as we're both facilitating bible studies at PWOC. Yup, start telling people about Jesus, or encourage them to learn more about God and Satan gets his panties in a wad. You know, I've always thought it funny that folks can believe in Aliens, ghosts, and all other sorts of hobgoblins, but you mention Satan as a real creature and folks look at you like YOU are the alien. Just find that interesting.

I know my grammar and typing are a bit off, but I just needed to get that off my chest. Already I feel a bit lighter. Getting my focus off of me and onto Jesus and it's like sunshine breaking through heavy cloud cover.

Just a little while until I'm whole again. I'm so thankful that my day count will end well before 50, especially when I thought I was going to be counting to 180! What a blessing and a bit of prep work for when the next one does come along. I'm VERY thankful for the friends I've made here and my sisters at PWOC who are willing to help through the trials of military life. I hope all of you have similar, whether you're military or not! A friend in need is a friend indeed! But, I also have a friend that is closer than a brother (or sister)! And for Him i am eternally grateful!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 35-i'm loving tkd

we had TKD tonight and I so wanted to stay home (female issues), but K would have killed me. Tonight was her first night. She loved it. She was disappointed that she didn't get to break a board. But, that will happen Thursday. I should get my belt and I ordered A's uniform, since he's been going for 3 weeks now. I really can't encourage you enough, if there is something you've wanted to do and have put off thinking, I'm too old to start that or some other excuse. Put it aside, we only live once and now is the time to live your life! Learn that instrument, start that craft, whatever it is do it! you won't regret it and your kids will look up to you for moving forward.

The only down side to the day, we stayed to watch our friends test for their stripe. While there A was his usual monky self, climbing on everything. Some lady came in, and kept pointing out where he was climbing (while it makes others nervous, I know he's sure footed, and sometimes, falling is the way we learn.) I wasn't bothered too much until the lady says "I'm with Family advocacy." (which is kind of like saying: I work for CPS) Tell me, would you be bothered by that? I don't know her reason for sharing that, but given some of my past experiences with "family advocates" I don't always have a positive response. Especially when "i'm a family advocate" is followed with pointing out some potentially harmful activity your child is involved in while you are engaged in a conversation with other adults. Maybe it's just that overly guilty "oldest child" people pleasing tendency I have that immediately bristles when corrected.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 34-oops

Golly, I guess I should just talk about how amazing the last 4 days have been to keep me from posting. Well, they've been a bit busy, but not sure how amazing. Friday we watched the most beautiful babies again and then took our friend to rent a wheelchair. Then it was home to relax and Saturday was the final round of basketball games. J won his, 18-8. He was so cute. He woke up saying "we've won 4 games this season (it's been a hard season) and I'm including today in that". And they did win. The thing i didn't realize about his team, until the party, was only 3 of the kids had ever played before. So, to win 4 was a tremendous feat! We had fun at the team party and I sent J home with his teammate before picking up K from her party. She's glad the season is over so that she can begin TKD. We went home, I took a lovely nap and we went to get J and ended up hanging out for several hours.

Sunday was non-eventful...but it did have potential. I took 6 kids to the commissary after church. I'm amazed I don't have some type of disaster story for you. Must be because of all my amazing parenting skills...that, or the liberal amounts of threats I gave them before we went into the store.

Now today was cool. Our favorite baby came back to play, we had our second Sticks lesson. Sticks is a definite arm workout. Piano, and a trip to Ulta, where the facial lady, saw me staring stupidly carefully considering the bare mineral products and said if you "Have any questions.." to which K promptly replied "what can she do about her red face?" Um, thanks for noticing K. Not, that the kids have any choice. I'm not a huge fan of make-up but I am a bit tired of being asked how I got a sunburn in the middle of winter. She suggested a cream, and also said they have a $20 facial. Hmmm, $20. OK, sign me up. So I scheduled an appointment for 5:30.

Oh my goodness, facials where have you been my whole life. I may be giving up hair coloring, but I am now officially addicted to the facial. That was one of the most relaxing experiences of my life. AND my face was actually less red when we left. J actually said he thought she'd bleached my skin. Yes, I'll be going back in 4 weeks :). And she did suggest a different brand of mineral make-up to try. So, I'm well on my way to a free treatment at Ulta now, my haircut on Wednesday should put over the edge for that.

Now, to find someplace for a mani-pedi and I'll be set for the end of this "mini-deployment". Yes, I said END. As always I can't mention exact times and places. But Never did I think that the military could do anything LESS than the maximum amount of time listed on a set of orders. I am happily shocked!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day 30- and I broke a board

Yup, that's me. I kept telling myself, "if a 5 year old can do it, so can you!". The other kids in the class all encouraged me and told me I could do it. They are so sweet! It's amazing what happens when the kids realize you are on their level or lower! Another mom joined the class today, so I'm not the "biggest kid" in the class. I'm so glad I overcame my fear of embarrassing myself to take this class. So many times I'll let fear keep me from doing something I want to do. I'm glad I'm getting over that as I get older. I've only been to two classes, but I'm having a blast! I really encourage you, if there is something you've wanted to learn, then do it! I may have to find a ballet or tap class next and take up where I left off in childhood!

Justus was so excited to watch me break my board. The kids were so proud of mom. It's just a great feeling. And I'm leaving today's entry at that.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Day 29-what will tomorrow bring?

Because today brought good stuff. We (and when I say we, I mean K) got to watch an adorable 2 year old and the boys got to play with a favorite friend before heading off to a food party. If you've never tried it, check out wildtreeherbs they have fantastic seasonings, sauces, mixes etc. They make what they sell and it is all natural, preservative and dye free foods. I am completely addicted to their cranberry spice blend. It's so yummy on my morning bagel!

Then, joy of joy, we went to Lowe's and bought FLOWERS! I filled 3 planters with pansies in the front and one with snapdragon's and dianthis (something like that). Oh, it felt so good to get the dirt under my nails again (reminds me I need some new gardening gloves) and I'm about ready to order my raised bed forms. The one's we made at Knox were great but didn't last. I'm getting some plastic ones that we can disassemble for moves, we'll see how it goes. I'm looking forward to the veggies. I'm hoping the dog will stay out of it, he wasn't in the same area at Knox. Now, he shares space.

Speaking of the dog. He and I are finally getting along. When he runs out the door, he comes back! I don't know what has caused the change, but I love it. He may not come immediately, but I haven't had to chase him around the housing area in a long time. We rewarded him today by taking him on a car ride to the drive through with us. I've never had a dog that loved to ride in the car like he does.

AWANA was great as usual. I had a girl who hasn't said a verse in a month, say her section tonight. That was just so encouraging. I just pray that for those girl's who struggle or come with an "my mom made me come" attitude that seeds will be planted and that they will learn that the world can offer nothing that compares with God's love and accepting His gift.

I've got a busy day to get through tomorrow to make it to our busy Stay-Home-Day friday. I was able to get my paperwork scanned, so if you think of it, say a prayer for me that the right person at DFAS (defense finance) will receive my email, and be willing to work with me in finding a solution. My position is unique in the system and I pray they will be willing to do what they can to help me as I fight with the IRS. The IRS wants me to pay $642 in taxes and fines on non-taxable income that we received as foster parents.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 28-4 weeks down.

Wow, it's hard to believe it's only been 4 weeks, the other day I was sure it'd been 6 and not in the positive way when Mike says we've been married twice as long as we really have. Today was our regular PWOC day, which I always enjoy. I really like the ladies in my class I'm leading. We started on Nehemiah today. A good book, if you haven't read it. Then the kids and I went to lunch with J so she could continue to have some time out of her house.

A few hours at home and off to the evening activities, which now includes Me! I took my first Tae Kwon Do class and it was so fun. I love the instructor here. It's obvious that he just loves what he does and gets real enjoyment from the students. There is no pressure what so ever. A loved that I was there and kept getting so close that I accidentally punched and kicked him 2x. I had to keep picking him up and moving him over. Fortunately I wasn't moving to fast. My girlfriends, who won't take the class with me, got a real kick out of the fact I couldn't do my pushups. Although, I didn't see them trying :). I'm definitely going to need some ibuprofen tonight, but it was worth it. One thing though, you don't realize how many muscles are affected by childbirth. You mom's know what I mean!

Alright, I need to get some rest. So, I'll see ya'll tomorrow!


Monday, March 8, 2010

Day 26 & 27...Wow, almost a month and the cat's still alive

Yesterday was so calm and relaxing I totally forgot to post about it. What would there have been to say except, "I found my peace". For the months leading up to this deployment I would daily think about those I love and regardless of the frustrations at hand, I felt peace and joy. The kind that can only come from the Lord. Well with all the car frustrations and random difficulties I always found the blessings, but I misplaced my peace and joy. I wanted to stay home from church, and when you want to stay at home from church it only means one thing...get your butt to church. So I went and told the children's choir director that I wouldn't be able to help her that I NEEDED to be in Church. I almost got up when they dismissed the kids, but Praise Him I saw two mom's following them out. So I kept my butt planted. And I found my Peace and Joy again. They weren't ever really lost, I just needed to seriously focus on the source of it. We came home and spent the day here. It was so pretty I went outside to read and ended up cleaning up the backyard, which I actually enjoy doing, and daydreamed about our vegetable garden. The kids spent the whole day out playing with the neighbor's and we ended the day by reading some stories together. 12 Princesses by the Brother's Grimm, and The Yellow Ribbon, an American Folk story (in which the lady's head is held on by a yellow ribbon). The children were suitably surprised and grossed out.

Today was a busy monday, but not so much that you're left exhausted. We started the day by watching the two most adorable little girls on the planet. Went to our first Sticks class (which is a Phillipino form of martial arts). The instructor is just awesome and very interested in teaching people, especially kids and women, how to defend themselves. I decided that I'll begin Tae Kwon Do tomorrow. I'm a bit nervous, but excited at the same time. I think I have one friend talked into starting with me, that is if we can lift our arms tomorrow.

J had a make-up basketball team, and the teams were well matched. The final score was 7-4, but the way we were hooting you would have thought we'd won 70-4. I think a world record was set by turnovers for traveling between the two teams. Lot's of fun and I enjoy it when both teams have fun cheering the kids and joking around. Best of all the season ends Saturday. Of Course baseball starts a few weeks later, but I can live with it. K plans to start TKD when the season ends as well.

Now I'm home, the kids are showering and we're gettin' ready for tomorrow.

Oh, we did have one really suspenseful moment today. I realized around 10:30 that I hadn't seen Bad...all morning. I sent J to look for him, and he said he couldn't find him, and yes mom, I looked under the beds. So I went a looking. Just fearing that the cat would be dead and thinking what do I do with a dead cat? Where can I go to have him cremated? Fortunately, I found him, ALIVE. Where, you ask? Under my bed of course.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Days 24 & 25- it's a 2 for 1!

I got home late yesterday and couldn't muster up the energy to type up how awesome it was to get to hang out with my dear friend yesterday. And it made me very excited about meeting with the NER board and learning what our folks brought away from the week. I'd been losing my voice, so it was a strain to talk, but I pushed through. The ride home though, I couldn't talk to the kids at all. I was so thankful to find a Starbucks open after 10 to get a hot drink for the ride home. I seriously was praying, "Dear God, please let one of these signs soon show a Starbucks and let it be open!" Another answered prayer. My throat felt SOOOOOOO much better. I woke up with a voice back :). Of course I lost it again cheering my boys on at their games this morning :).

Both boys lost, but S played so much better this week it felt like a win. And J had a solid game as well, they went down 18-4 in the first quarter so when they fought back to end the game 24-18 losing by 6 still felt like a victory! We flew to the AWANA games from there. K's team came in 3rd of 3 and J's team came in 1st so they received an invitation to the "tournament of champions" On March 27. I'm sensing a road trip. At least Basketball will be over!

I wanted to go on another curtain hunt and decided to torture the children by taking them to Target and then Kohl's except the tables got turned on me and we only went to Target. Because when we came out of Target the car wouldn't start. The radio came on, lights etc. But it wouldn't start. I so wanted to cry. My child did ask me what "Frack" meant. "It's a statement of frustration," I explained. When the roadside assistance said it'd be 45 minutes I decided to prevail upon the poor stranger who parked her Lexus next to me for a jump. She was clueless but agreed. I found the hood latch and the hooked everything up. My car started right up. I went straight to Autozone (by way of Pepboys) and purchased a new battery. i'll go back in a few day's to get the alternator and starter tested. Maybe being proactive will get Murphy to MOVE OUT! Seriously, he needs to find a new home.

Really, the transmission is 2 years old, timing belt, drive belts, SRS computer, something else that was $400 that I don't remember what it was called and several miscellaneous parts, plus new title and registration. Brakes and tires were good per last inspection. So much for paying the car off. The second law of thermodynamics is really getting on my nerves! It's ruling my life these days!



Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day 23-almost forgot!

We had a busy day, and I'm so excited to get to bed so I can wake up tomorrow, that I almost forgot to write! Today was a comfortably full day. We had our usual homeschool group, which we just LOVE. The kids created tremendous art pieces based on Mary Cassatt (that I would show you if my computer would recognize my scanner) and we ran a few errands, including shipping 3 boxes off to daddy. Then it was the usual full evening of practices. I did learn that I can take TKD for free + uniform as a parent helper. It's an interesting proposition, one I'm considering on taking them up on. After class today A kicked S in the head (with cowboy boots on) when they were fighting over a toy. When I told A he was done for the day (meaning playing and sitting with his friends) he responded tearfully, "with Tae Kwon Do?" These 2 weeks have had a powerful affect on him. It's such a joy to see him take such pride in an activity and to see the remorse on his face when he had to talk to Mr. Don about the appropriate times to kick. All the kids are going to start Sticks on Monday. I wonder if my terrific trio counterparts are willing to join me in becoming a martial artist?

"But why am I so excited about tomorrow?" you ask. Because on Friday I get to see Kelly! One of 3 women who I met with weekly for prayer for over a year. I haven't seen Kelly in about 18 months and it's been over 2 years since she left Ft. Knox. She had to be on the east coast this week and tomorrow we get to meet and hang out! I'm still trying to convince Mike to let me go out and visit her (we'd love a prayer group reunion) as her family is stationed in Hawaii :). Our kids all still talk about each other and call, even though they haven't seen each other for the full time.

Now, if only Janelle and Elaine had business on this coast. And anyone of you reading this for that matter! I'll happily drive a few hours to meet up with you if life brings you my way :). (given that the person reading this is someone I know and not a complete stranger that happened upon my Blog through some random search! In which case, God bless you-but I'm not meeting you.)


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Day 22-Jehovah-Jireh the Lord Provides.

The Lord Provides. There are many names for God, but these last weeks, that is what I call Him. Even when I'm cursing my circumstance He Provided. Over and over these last weeks, shoot I've been sharing it all with you...He has provided. How amazing is it that Elohim would be Jehovah Jireh to me? Who am I? Nobody, no-one, a continual sinner, and yet...He provides. I pray that every person I know could come to know Him and love Him. You don't check your brain at the door, It wasn't until I really started thinking and questioning that I really even met Him. Until then my faith had only been a hollow echo of earlier teachings. "Faith" isn't an ignorant, wishful thing. It's an active, alive thing. We must seek, ask, knock in order to gain. Hebrews 11 says "1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." How can we be either of those things if we haven't thought, challenged, or questioned. But Faith is also dangerous. Because faith requires that we give up control, we may have to change, people may laugh or think less of us, life may not go the way we want. It may cost us something we hold dear.

Each frustration has been an opportunity to see God's provision. The car needed more work than I expected. We had the money (We never have money). The car took longer than I expected and multiple trips (5 different friends drove us around. May they be richly blessed.) My children needed a stay home day-it March, we stayed home and were able to care for the same friend who cared for me yesterday. Today, I was stressing about how to solve the need to be in multiple places on Saturday while also meeting my DEEP desire to get to DC Area on Friday to see a dear friend. It worked out perfectly without me doing anything-all changes from her end. She didn't know what was going on here. I would never have thought of the solution and yet it meets the needs of everyone involved. Jehovah Jireh. And in so many other ways that I probably won't know of until Heaven (yes, I think it's an actual place and definitely NOT the bland, white, angels on clouds place as popularly depicted).

For all my thinking and pondering I still don't have all the answers, but I will keep seeking and asking and I will walk by Faith for Jehovah Jireh.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day 21, no grumbling, well a little bit.

OK, so today was one of those frustrating days where you just wanted to cuss or drink or both. But, if you look the blessings were there too. And right now I'm too tired and cold to tell everything. But, after all my running around (every errand took 2 trips) I was ultimately able to get the car titled and registered in the not-so-great commonwealth of Virginia. Many thanks to J for hanging with me all afternoon and being my chauffer and babysitter! After practice my friend M took me to get the car. We got to the lot and my automatic opener wouldn't work. Not, because the batteries in it were the Car battery was dead.

Fortunately I know very well how to use my jumper cables. And when I turned the car over, I learned why the battery was dead. The alarm wouldn't shut off. Which is what apparently drained the battery to begin with. Did I mention that it had started to snow/rain while we were driving out there? So we're standing out dealing with this in this freezing, driving nastiness. Yeah, my friend M learned that I know some words that I wouldn't use at PWOC. But, we all got a big laugh. I mean, if you don't laugh you just might go insane! After about 5 minutes in the cold and pushing buttons, I finally got the alarm to shut off. But, since the battery had died we didn't have a radio for the ride home. Which was OK, the kids had a great discussion on the way home about how the entire last week with the car was a terrific example of the second law of thermodynamics. -Jonathan Park Rules!


Monday, March 1, 2010

Day 20-good times!

We went to Williamsburg today with our local homeschool group. $11 for a five day pass and children under 6 are free! Can't beat that with a stick. We had so much fun exploring with our friends the first half of the day. Then after lunch we struck out with our friend J for a bit, before she had to leave and then it was just me and the kids. We all enjoy that place. We learned about basketweaving, from selecting an oak tree to the weaving process. Weaving fabric, a bit about how an original printing press worked and book binding. The children were floored by the cost of paper. I think S appreciates it much more, since he draws non-stop. K finally got her hoop and stick. She was so fun to watch as she ran down the main street playing. J & S, of course, choose new guns. A would have had one, but he once again forgot to control himself. Hopefully the painful lesson of walking out of the store without the cherished rifle, will have some type of effect. As we were walking back to the car, K talked about what a great day it had been and A said "it's was a bad day". After we stopped and got ice cream (his suggestion) he pronounced it was once again a good day. Once again ice cream cures everything!

We got the car paid for and I learned that I didn't need to prove that the car was inspected in order to title/register it even though the state website says the car needs to be inspected. Stupid. So tomorrow I will go do the paperwork after PWOC and I'll be all nice and legal again. I'll be so thankful to be done with this mess. At least next year I'll be able to do it online!

After all that I picked up 3 new books, well new to me at least, at lifeway. A Randy Alcorn book that I didn't have, the 1st book in the AD chronicles by the Thoene's, and Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis, Oops, make that four books I also got a Ted Dekker book, which is really 2 books. The first 2 in the Books of History series that goes along with the Circle series that I'm just finishing up. Those 4 authors have such different styles, but I like them all so much. Now, to set aside time to read them! I'll let you know how they are when I'm done.

(Oh, and I still really miss Mike!)