Friday, September 28, 2007


I overheard Caleb sharing this astute observation with Hannah while eating dinner tonight.

"You know what hot dogs remind me of? Carrots. Because carrots taste just like donuts."


The Understated

Bethany was contentedly drawing a picture in my office yesterday when she innocently, and with extreme understatement, asked me, "Mama, what comes after "w" in "way"?"

"What word are you trying to spell, exactly?" I thought I was being so smart, to proactively teach between the two possibilities of "way", and "weigh". She outsmarted me. The following was her response, without skipping a beat.

"I am spelling;
Way up high in the apple tree
2 little apples were looking at me
I shook that tree as hard as I could
Down came the apples... mmm they were good.

So what comes next in "way"?"

"I'll just write it out for you."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

For two years Bethany has been graciously, courageously, and patiently growing her tresses for an organization called Locks of Love. We painstakingly measured her hair against the "10inch rule" that LoL asks for, wondering each time if this month was THE month for a haircut... and at last it was.

We had to wait two weeks before we could get in to see our hair-stylist Jules, and every day Bethany asked how many days until her appointment. Finally the day arrived. She had me braid her hair for the last time, and asked every 20 minutes if it was time for us to leave yet. Daddy took the picture of her hair down right before we walked out the door.

It was a great evening for girlie time, and before we went to the salon Bethany and I had dinner at Carrows. While waiting for our food I asked her if she knew what style she might like for her short hair. She immediately responded, "Yes, but it is a hard decision between slanted like this (she placed her hand at an angle against her cheek to indicate a cut that was slightly higher in the back and longer in the front), or curved around like this (she drew a scalloped pattern in the air all around the bottom of her imaginary new hairline)." Hmmm... how exactly does one handle the disappointment that after two years of work there is no way the "curved" hair-do will... well, do. I remember once upon a time thinking it would take care of so much fuss if I could just get the bottom of my hair permed in one curl, to save me the trouble of using a curling iron.

"Well sweetie (stall for a moment so as to look like I am pondering this most legitimate question), I imagine it would be very hard for Miss Jules to cut your hair into curves, and then make it stay perfect after brushing it. I think it would be better to plan on the slanted cut, which would look darling on you." Praise God this sufficed!!

Bethany was eager for the full grown-up experience, and upon our arrival at Soleil Hair and Beauty Salon immediately asked Jules if she would get her hair washed in the "special sink"? Once she was assured that there would be no cheating during her appointment she sat back, and enjoyed the ride!

And now... presenting the new Bethany Joy!

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Christopher and I watched a movie several years ago where the characters played the game, High-Low. We instantly resolved to bring it into practice in our own family. We love this simple way of connecting with our children and each other. The rules are easy:

High - what was your highest point during the day/ event/ trip/ year.
Low - what was your lowest point during the day/ event/ trip/ year.

Today's (Sunday) High-Low
FYI - Hannah and Bethany walked up and down the streets in our church's surrounding neighborhood putting informational leaflets about our children's AWANA program on doorknobs.

H - Seeing all the different kinds of houses when we were out.
L - My aching feet from walking so far.

H - I got to choose to which street I wanted to walk, the up street or down street.
L - We had to walk so far!

H - Watching the movie (Prince of Egypt) after rest time.
L - Getting disciplined. (talking back to Daddy)

H - Plus, I ran around.
L - I no like hurting my hair.

H - Pooping in the tub.
L - Trying to tell my Mama and Daddy what I want even though I refuse to give up the ghost and actually SPEAK.

H - Having a leisurely getting-ready-for-church time this morning. I am usually a lot more stressed about being late, and this morning it just didn't bother me as much, and I enjoyed the slower pace of our morning.
L - Disciplining the kids.

H - Christopher let me take a 2+ hour nap!
L - Mary pooped IN the bathtub at the end of bath time.

What was your High/Low today?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ladybug Miracles

I don't know how you feel about miracles, but I rather like them. The idea of the supernatural occurring in my life fills me with giddiness. Just think, to be touched by the Divine in a way that is tangible to your present circumstance - that's gotta be pretty cool! Now, I have been blessed with some really miraculous events which left me wondering how on earth I could have a God that loved me enough to save my hiney from THAT situation. I have also had the privilege of participating in miracles through divine intervention of the right people in the right place. It all adds up to the same thing - God making himself personally known. What a rush!

It goes without saying that God doesn't waste miracles on the unimportant, but rather doles them out for the dying, broken-hearted, dejected, abused, and lost. Then, and only then does God reach down and communicate with people who are in a position to listen, which tends to be when their circumstances are not exactly... idyllic. But a God who "wastes" a miracle on ladybugs? And not just the insect variety but the earring kind... I mean, come on! Oh ye of little faith. *wink*

My dear friend Jill bought me the best pair of ladybug earrings in the entire universe last year for my birthday. I love them. I wear them all the time. They have just the right amount of dangle, can't be beat for detail, and are a wonderfully rich red that goes with - well just about everything I own. Needless to say, they are among my favorites. Last month a couple gals included me in an "August birthday club movie and coffee" get together. The best time was after church on a Sunday, so that particular morning I dressed with extra care, weighing the ever subtle wardrobe decisions of church with matinee/coffee/girlfriends so as to achieve the best look with maximum comfort. The ladybug earrings were an essential. I did the once over in the mirror at home, agreed with the reflection and headed out the door. Before meeting my girlfriends I checked one more time at church, to do a quick hairbrush/lip gloss touch up for our "date". All was well.

In a stroke of odd vanity, I chose to wear my hair down, with only a headband to keep it out of my face. My friends commented on how cute I looked (probably referring to my rounded belly, but I like to believe they were noticing the entire presentation). In the chatter before our show one friend mentioned wanting to run by Macy's after we were done to look at getting some new earrings. Apparently she had a bad habit of losing one to each matching pair she owned, and no longer had a single matched set. Thinking about how difficult life would be like without a single matched set of earrings (they are by far one of my most favorites fashion accessories - and I NEVER leave home without a pair on) I readily agreed to the venture. We took our seats, and began the movie.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because I need to make sure you understand that I had BOTH earrings in the entire time this portion of my story is unfolding. Girls notice things like missing earrings on their friends. Between church, checking my own reflection twice, and someone specifically wanting to go shop for earrings, you better believe my own had been checked out. They were there - in my ears - dangling most cutely.

About half way through the movie I desperately needed to resecure my headband, but not wanting to be a bother to the people sitting directly behind me I couldn't really manage it correctly. I caught my hair, earring, glasses and I am sure the attention of the people sitting directly behind me while I tried to surreptitiously expedite my hair fiasco (the fact that we were watching Hairspray made it all the more comical). My headband was still not truly secure, but I figured I would fix it when the movie was over, and finished watching the show.

We walked to Starbucks for coffee (chai *wink*), and some chatski kapoopskies when one girlfriend looked at me across our table and said, "You're missing an earring."

WHAT!!! I instantly knew in my heart that it had come out during my fumbled attempt at hair management in the movie theater, but tried to remain calm and think the best of the situation. I checked my immediate surroundings, my clothes, the floor in Starbucks, etc. In an effort not to cry I took the one earring I still wore and placed it protectively in the coin pocket of my purse silently praying, "I know it is just an earring God, but please return it to me." After going to Macy's (and buying a new pair of earrings for myself so I could stop feeling naked) we walked back to the movie theater going the same route taken, and looking down the entire time. At the movie theater I implored the manager to look for my little earring. I even pulled the loner from my purse so he could see how sweet, and tender the situation was. I knew it was lost. I couldn't go into the theater during a movie, and there had already been clean-up after our show that would have swept up my little ladybug. I was devastated.

When I got home I placed the loner in his place on my earring rack, and almost came to tears seeing it hang there by itself. Then I became inspired! I called Jill and related the whole ugly mess, and asked if she would be willing to purchase me a replacement pair for this year's birthday present? She was equally sad for my loss, and agreed to set out in search of my replacement. I plucked the loner off my earring rack and dropped him back in my coin purse so Jill could compare him against potential replacements. And then I forgot to give him to Jill.

Over the following days, I was constantly being reminded about the loss of my earrings. I would reach for them, only to feel my heart sink when I remembered that one was missing. Then, just a couple days ago I had to run to an OB appointment, and once again reached for my ladybug earrings. "Drat," I thought, as I once again saw the lone earring dangle from my rack. I ran out the door silently musing how long I would keep the single earring. Bethany came with me to my doctor's appointment, and as a "thanks" for sitting so patiently with me I told her we would get a treat for dinner, just the two of us. I had some cash on me (talk about miracles! I never carry actual cash), so when I came to the drive through window to pay I used real money. The thought occurred to me that I might even have enough change to finish the sale off exactly. While I was emptying my coin purse I came across my ladybug earring, which I had forgotten to give to Jill all those weeks ago. I looked at him, lonely and so very cute, and resolved to pass him along the next time I saw her. But another curious thought was developing in my head... I thought I saw him hanging on my rack.

When we got home things were in a flurry. Christopher was leaving the following day for his trip to Mt Whitney, and I was taking Hannah up to Walnut Creek for a Speech Conference. In the hustle and bustle I once again forgot about my earring - until I stood in my bathroom brushing my teeth and looking directly at my earring rack. There was a ladybug earring hanging there. I looked closer. Did I have two different kinds of dangle ladybugs which might be confused for one another? No. I looked closer still. Finally, barely able to contain myself I ran downstairs and opened my coin purse. Yes, there was my earring. I grabbed him out of the purse and ran back upstairs. I could hardly believe what I was seeing, and literally had to place the earring from the coin purse onto the rack before I began to realize... they were an exact match. The missing earring which had come out of my ear at Del Monte Shopping Center nearly 4 weeks earlier was hanging on my earring rack. God had indeed returned my earring to me!

Ephesians 3:20-21
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Coughs and Light Bulbs

I have a frustratingly dry cough right now. It started a couple of days ago with a scratchy throat, but by this morning I knew I was destined for all-out hacking by days end.

I was already dealing with the preliminaries of the day first thing this morning when Caleb came downstairs much earlier than normal. He snuggled up on the couch and waited for me to join him. When I came over and sat down he immediately shifted to fit the side of my body closest to him, and laid his head against my chest.

How did you sleep, son? cough cough

Good. I came down here early didn't I? cough

Yes, you did. cough cough How come?

'Cause I wanted to sit with you.

That was nice of you. I like cough sitting cough with you. cough I am sorry I have cough this nasty cough.

That's okay. Coughs happen. Like light bulbs when they just burn out.

Thanks. cough I feel much better now. cough

Good. I love you.

I love cough you too. cough

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Monterey County Fair

In recognition of my birthday (8/15) Monterey County celebrates with the annual Fair. I appreciate their well wishes for my health and happiness. And it certainly makes me feel special that they go to the trouble of showing me how much they care by devoting an entire event to the purpose. Out of kindness to their efforts we don't miss it, and every year finds us (with whatever baby is little that year) pushing a stroller, wrangling several small children, keeping up with a Nana, and carrying all manner of miscellaneous treasures down the fairway. Similar to our 4th of July expedition, this one is simply not to be missed. Period.

The main event is a tie between fairfood (all one word because, I think you would agree, it is a food group all its own - like vegetables, or grains), and the animals (be they livestock or the altogether bizarre human entertainers). We ate corn dogs, bbq, kettle korn, dipped ice cream, and pizza. We skipped the funnel cake, for reasons only God can forgive. Then we petted baby ducklings, watched dogs jump way to high in the air, saw a juggler do interpretive dance while maintaining control over 4 fiery batons simultaneously, and enjoyed our favorite band The Amazong Harmonatras perform using all five of our children. I genuinely believe my little people think heaven is the Fair, with Jesus somewhere down in the carnival giving out free ride tickets!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Capitalism and Gasoline

I don't "get" it! I haven't "gotten" it for some time, but just today realized I need to post about it so that all of you understand that I don't "get" it either.

We own a rather large vehicle to transport our growing family. The whopping 12mpg it gets is not its best selling point, but then when you divide that by the number of people being hauled it actually becomes economical. However, it still requires a lot of gas, rather regularly. And this is where my lack of "getting" it comes into play.

In order for me to fill my tank I must buy quite a bit. Somewhere, someone decided that it was evil, and against our capitalistic-supply-and-demand economy to allow people to buy the amount of gas they desire. I don't know if this is a national phenomenon, or only in the ever logical vicinity of Marina, but once you hit $50 your pump turns off. Stop. Done. Regardless of whether this has filled your tank your transaction is complete. Now, when this first happened I thought maybe my card was being declined the full amount. I went in to ask the ever intelligible foreign national proprietor why my pump turned off, and was told, "So that we make sure all people have enough gas." This is the case in all of the gas stations I now visit.

Huh. I thought we lived in a first-come-first-served-your-willing-to-pay-so-I-will-sell-it-to-you nation. Apparently not. We are actually living in a government-has-the-job-to-ensure-that-all-people-wishing-to-buy-gas-but-to-lazy-to-go-to-the-station-still-have-enough-gas-when-they-finally-show-up-to-get-$50-worth. Who knew.

I went back to my van, wondering what to do. I don't have gobs of extra time to be running to the gas station every day. But I figured if this was now the policy they must track your debit/credit/gas card number to make sure you don't cheat and just do two transactions in a row. I will try... just in case. You know what? You probably do. It worked!

So now you see why I just don't "get" it. The whole concept of capitalism is a FREE MARKET. That means you sell what you want, I buy how much I want, and everyone else minds their own business. Private ownership of capital. The government does not legally tell us how we are to spend our money. So here I am being told how much gas I am allowed to buy, based on some arbitrary explanation of maintaining enough gas for the next guy. BUT... there is no actual means of enforcing this absurd policy, so it only creates a headache because I now get the added bonus of buying gas in two transactions, one right after the other, every time I fill up.

Can someone fill me in on what it is I am missing? Because, as I said before, I just don't "get" it.