Thursday, February 28, 2008

My girl (s)...

I found a graded paper that Emma left out on the table this morning. On the bottom was a "Writing Activity" instructing the student to write a paragraph about what you can do to help the planet and to use at least three spelling words. Here is Emma's paragraph (I think she's found her voice, don't you?):

Do you live in a city or what? Well, city or not, we have to make a giant change. Stop smoking! Find something else addicting like chocolate! You should see the changes we can make.

Chocolate! I love it!

I also just need to share how grown up my baby is getting...we took these this morning. And, NO, I don't let her wear lip gloss (yet). She was playing in my bathroom while I was getting ready... but you have to admit, pink is her color!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

California Dreamin'

My Friday started off early when I woke to the smell of fresh brewed coffee (Thank you, honey!). I was already packed so I got dressed and then went room to room making beds since there was going to be a showing after Larry dropped me at the airport. Everything really went so smoothly... too smoothly. At the airport I checked my bag and headed down to the gate to settle in with my new library book, Auralia's Colors (Thanks, Jen!), and my "breakfast" (see photo) while I waited for my flight. The weather was beautiful so I was confident there would be no delays and I would make my connecting flight in Chicago. I was scheduled to take off from South Bend at 9:10 am, arriving in Chicago 1/2 an hour later, leaving 40 minutes later for San Diego and arriving in SD around noon. Silly, naive girl.

As I was reading, I overhead the man across from me saying something about a flight being delayed because of mechanical problems. I butted my eavesdropping self in and asked (politely, of course!) what flight he was talking about. Ours, wouldn't you know. I got on the phone immediately and found myself on hold for over 20 minutes waiting for an agent. By this time it was clear I wouldn't make my connecting flight. The lady at the gate wouldn't make any changes to our itineraries until she had a new "arrival time" for the delayed flight. When the agent finally came on the phone line, she informed me that the flight had just been (hold your breath...) ... cancelled! I knew I had a significant advantage over the other passengers and immediately left the gate area and sprinted for the front counter. I was second in line only to find out that all the other flights (including the other airlines) to Chicago were booked until 7 pm that night. I was not happy. After much finagling, we finally settled on United paying for me to take the bus (yes, you read that right) for a THREE hour ride to O'hare airport, booked on the 8-something pm flight from Chicago to San Diego but on stand by for the 3:15 flight and 5:20 flight.

By the time I got to O'hare I was starving BUT I had to try to get on the earlier flight so I stood in line (AGAIN) and got onto the 3:15 flight (still 2 1/2 hours away) but in a really, really crappy middle seat. I took it, checked my bag and made my way through security. I hurried past all the cafes and food courts and made my way to the gate where I stood in line (AGAIN) and managed to get moved to a really crappy aisle seat. With 2 hours left I dragged myself over to the nearest cafe and ordered a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread (low WW point value) but treated myself to a beer. It had to be done.

I finally arrived in San Diego at 5:30 pm (Pacific Time) to a sky at the gloaming hour with palm trees, warm air and a cool breeze...the scent of honeysuckle wafting around me. I was home.

Today was spent with my niece and nephew in the morning. We went to Barnes and Noble and browsed and bought then headed over to Target and the dollar bins.

Later Mom and I met my dear friend, Dana, for lunch at Rubios...yay, for fish tacos!!!! The mahi mahi taco was a great low WW point option. Then tonight Mom and I met my other San Diego best buddy, Callie, and her kids at Starbucks for a while. It was so good to spend even just this short amount of time with both of them. I miss them terribly when I'm in Indiana.

So...that's my saga so far with the added bonus that when I woke up on Friday morning I was down another couple pounds. I have now lost 17 lbs since January 1st! I definitely think I deserved that beer!!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Random 7 (not related to the Oceanic 6)...

I've been tagged by Tonni (who, btw, makes the cutest bows in the world...just ordered some for Maddie today!). The rules are as follows:

  1. List 7 random things about yourself that people may not know.
  2. Link the person who sent this to you, and leave a comment on their blog so that their readers can visit yours.
  3. Post the rules on your blog.
  4. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, linking their blog. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

The difficulty for me was seven random things that people may not know. I tend to be a pretty open book so I have a feeling that some of these things may not be surprises for many. But here goes anyway:

  1. I can say the alphabet backwards in less than 5 seconds (accurately!). This is my one and only party trick. Once I've executed this feat, I'm done... I will suddenly drift to the corner of the room and start drinking myself into a stupor.
  2. I have eaten Häagen-Dazs out of crystal dishes in Billy Graham's living room with his wife and daughter. One of the greatest experiences of my life...thanks to Lamb's Players Theatre and Bob Smyth. We had performed the night before at a tribute to Ruth. I have treasured pictures with Billy and Ruth in the green room after the performance as well as pictures at their home and at dinner with Ruth. I will never ever forget this adventure.
  3. I have sung with Amy Grant. On the radio. On Jeff n' Jer...San Diego's big morning show. We sang "Big Yellow Taxi"...she played guitar and sang back up... BTW...she is the skinniest person I have ever seen...bony little lady!
  4. I am a voracious reader. Most of you probably know this. I recently finished "Enduring Love" by McEwan and "The Bonesetter's Daughter" by Amy Tan. I am currently reading "Almost Moon" by Alice Sebold. I absolutely have to read before I fall asleep otherwise my brain is going and going like the Energizer bunny and I will never fall asleep.
  5. I am "reformed" in theology and an amillenialist.
  6. I am on a journey to lose weight. I've lost 15 lbs since January 1st.
  7. One of my biggest dreams is to record a cd.

Now...for my dear tagging victims... I am tagging Red Letter Girl, A Day at the Zoo, This Pile, Picture This, Jess Strantz, Julie Spiller and Treasured Possessions!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Baby, I love your way...

  • the way you love our children

  • the way your eyes are sometimes green and sometimes brown

  • the way you remember every important date in our journey together
  • the way your lower lip juts out when you're thinking deeply
  • the way you kiss me on the forehead before you go to sleep when I'm already asleep (you probably think I don't know you do this...but I am always dreamily aware when you do)

  • the way you mist up when you think of our children getting married someday

  • the way you think and are the smartest man I know

  • the way you let me sleep and gets the kids out the door to school when you're home

  • the way you get protective with me and the kids

  • the way all you wanted to be when you "grew up" was a good husband and a good dad

  • the way you tell the kids stories at bedtime

  • the way you look at me and say with tenderness, "Pobrecita"

  • the way we've built a long history of muddling through life's ups, downs, surprises and defeats, wonder and growth

  • the way you sigh and say, "I don't know, Melissa..." when we're discussing something serious

  • the way you love the gospel

  • the way you view "time"

  • the way we've made our family

  • the way you love me No Matter What

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Losing the baggage...

I started a journey on New Years Day to be deliberate and disciplined about losing some of my particular the baggage I carry on my ass. Since then I have heard and read of many of you making the same decision and working and struggling along with you has been an encouragement to me. We could all use little spurts of inspiration along the way even if it's just a suggestion for something new to eat that fits within your meal plan! So, as I sit down at my kitchen table to tackle some writing assignments and my Subway 6" turkey/ham sub on honey oat bread (5 grams of fiber, girls!), I decided I would first send some of my discoveries out into the blogosphere in case they are just what my soon-to-be-skinny sisters need to hear.

(Sidebar: Subway, you are free to show me some love for the product placement.)

I have basically been loosely following the Weight Watchers point plan. I say "loosely" because I'm not journaling and I'm not attending meetings. I'm keeping myself aware of the point values of food and making sure I stay under my point allowance for the day. One of my "tricks" is that I stock up on snacks and foods that have very low point values but that don't make me feel like I'm depriving myself. When I feel I'm deprived I lose heart and my big butt bounces right off the wagon. I have also found a great online support group through my momwriters group. We have to report our progress each week and that alone has made a HUGE impact on keeping me motivated. (Yes... I admit... I'm competitive AND I put way too much stock in what other people...even in cyber-space... think of me. This is also why you will never see my big huge butt in a 'before' picture on this blog.)

As for some discoveries that have helped keep me from deprivation depression...

First, there is the WW snack cakes. 1 point!!!! That's right...I said 1 point!!!! They are moist and I take itsy, bitsy little bites and savor each one and it is usually just what I need. I love the lemon ones in particular. There's something about lemon flavor that helps cut the cravings for me pretty quick... I'm not sure there's anything scientific about that but it helps me. Little secret: I keep them in the freezer. This helps me eat them a little more slowly!

Then I stumbled upon (Thanks, Dana!) Shoutin' From The Rooftop's recommendation of Van's Eggrolls (I found them in the Deli/Produce section at Wal-mart in a refrigerated display case). They are a good, hearty size and are only 2 points each!! Hel-l-l-o-o-o-o!

Of course, there is the ever popular Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches. 2 points of sheer taste bud ecstasy.

The other day I came across TheologyMom's recommendation for Broccoli slaw so I decided to try it! I added a tsp of light mayo to mine and some light Italian dressing and it was amazing!

Another new discovery was the FiberOne bars. I've had the Caramel and OMG... it is so delicious, hearty and filling! And the best part??? TWO points!

One last recommendation for today: Weight Watchers Yogurt... it is 1 point. I like to add a little fiber-full cereal for some crunch and added fiber which will boost the point value slightly but it is almost a full meal for me now that my appetite is shrinking. I particularly like the Berries and Cream flavor.

So...all my cyber-friends out there (Cyber-twin, Melissa with your 50+ pounds gone...that means YOU too!) ... what are some of YOUR tips and tricks? Share them here...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Something tells me...

... that maybe I should be careful what I'm rocking out to in the car.

Hmmm, could it be the little four-year-old running around the house singing the lyrics to Carrie Underwood's Before He Cheats?

I mean...come on, at least she's not singing Lady Marmalade...I have a neice that does that. Although I'm pretty sure she doesn't know what those French words actually mean.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Brief Bragging Blog...

I am so proud of my son, Landen. God has gifted him with an amazing intellect and brilliant creativity.

Yesterday he came home from school and handed me an invitation to a Recognition Breakfast...for this morning! He apologized for the late delivery, explaining that when he received it initially he was confused because he knew he hadn't gotten a 4.0 last semester but that his teacher yesterday told him that it must be for another reason and he should attend.

So...we all got up before God this morning. I ushered Isaac and Emma out the door to catch the bus and Maddie and I, along with Landen, headed over the the middle school. Even after we arrived Landen was not entirely convinced that he was supposed to be there. I assured him that there must be a reason...maybe they were honoring the general honor roll as well as high honor roll. Anyway...long story short...Landen was honored for his I-STEP scores, Indiana's statewide testing program. He had the second highest math scores in the school (and we're not talking about a small school here), the highest score in Language Arts and a perfect score in Writing! I am thrilled for him!
Now, if we can just get him to turn in his homework...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ash Wednesday

Tonight I attended and participated in my first Ash Wednesday service...ever. The service was beautiful. I am reminded of how broken I am and yet how merciful He is. "I'm forgiven because you were forsaken. You are my King."

Most holy and merciful Father: We confess to you and to one another, and to the whole communion of saints in heaven and on earth, that we have sinned by our own fault in thought, word, and deed; by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not forgiven others, as we have been forgiven.
Have mercy on us, Lord.

We have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us. We have not been true to the mind of Christ. We have grieved your Holy Spirit.
Have mercy on us, Lord.

We confess to you, Lord, all our past unfaithfulness: the pride, hypocrisy, and impatience of our lives,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation of other people,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our anger at our own frustration, and our envy of those more fortunate than 0urselves,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and our dishonesty in daily life and work,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our negligence in prayer and worship, and our failure to commend the faith that is in us,
We confess to you, Lord.

Accept our repentance, Lord, for the wrongs we have done: for our blindness to human need and suffering, and our indifference to injustice and cruelty,
Accept our repentance, Lord.

For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbors, and for our prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us,
Accept our repentance, Lord.

For our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of concern for those who come after us,
Accept our repentance, Lord.

Restore us, good Lord, and let your anger depart from us;
Favorably hear us, for your mercy is great.

Accomplish in us the work of your salvation,
That we may show forth your glory in the world.

By the cross and passion of your Son our Lord,
Bring us with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection.

Now, let us rise and stand in the joy of God’s forgiveness

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

sobering conversations...

On the way to the airport to drop off Larry...

Mommy: Maddie, when Daddy and I brought you back from China this is where we came. And there were lots and lots of people at the airport waiting for us so that they could meet you!

(long pause)

Maddie (from her car seat): My birth mommy didn't want me and left me on the street.

(even longer pause as a rock hits my gut and Larry freezes)

Mommy: Who told you that?

Maddie: Emma. But Jesus took care of me and got me to the doctors.

Mommy (chickening out of dealing with the first comment for the time being): You are right about that. Jesus DID take care of you.

Maddie: And then you came and got me.

Later I tried to explain that her birth mommy did want her but wasn't able to take care of her. She just kept talking about us. I'm not sure what she understands sometimes. I also made sure I talked to Emma and explained the difference and how she should be careful with the words she uses when she's telling Maddie about her birth mommy. Even after adopting Isaac and having fielded his questions, it still feels new each time things like this come up. Each situation was unique with it's own story and painful aspects. I guess we just pray for the Holy Spirit to give us the words that our chilren need to hear to navigate each conversation as it arises.

Monday, February 04, 2008

What the world needs now is...


At times I am overwhelmed by the despair I see. On the evening news, in the face of the checker at Walmart, on the tiny faces on the Waiting Child lists, in the mirror... It is crippling. A sickness that is enveloping a world meant to reflect the glory of God. A world in need of a gospel...a gospel of hope. I forget my place in bringing His kingdom on earth and participating in redemption and I am lost once again.

This morning while checking my morning feeds I had a glimpse of hope. Thank you, Jen (Lemen). No matter what your politics, no one can argue that we don't need it... hope.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Snow Day...

In general, I hate snow days. The kids are restless, sniping at one another and I'm stir crazy and overstimulated. Today was no exception. Now, however, one child is gone spending the night with a friend, the girls are off to bed and Landen (who, BTW, got his braces yesterday) has two friends over spending the night and they are keeping each other occupied. long as the girls STAY in bed...knock on wood...we may have a quiet evening zoning out in front of the television. Of course the odds of the girls staying in bed rank right up there with the Giants odds of winning the Super Bowl and me ever giving birth again. In fact, as I type I can hear my oldest daughter throwing an incredibly innovative and creative tantrum for her father. Funny...just an hour ago she looked so angelic holding little Sam...

I have to say there were about fifteen minutes when Isaac went to play at a friends, the teenager (aka Landen) was still asleep in bed and the girls went out to play in the snow where it was quiet. But, like I was fifteen minutes.