My Current Giveaways

Keep watching--more coming soon!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

My Fishy Children

We started up another round of swimming lessons yesterday. Andrew is finally progressing to the top of the food chain in his Level 1 & 2 class. He's in the Top Group of Level 2. Hooray! Today, his teacher, Mrs. Jill, had him show the entire class how to do the back float properly. He managed to keep floating while I was trying to get a picture. Then she had him show what happens if you lift your head/ears out of the water (you sink).

Nathan is doing better, too. He didn't even cry today when they made him jump into the pool. Of course, they didn't make him go all the way under--but I'll encourage that step next week.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

When did I become a soccer mom?

Does it happen a little at a time, or does the mind just snap one day and you find yourself doing it. I'm not sure how it happened, but I'm a soccer mom.

You know what I mean. I'm driving a mini-van (OK--got one of those several years before kids) and I love it! I take my kids to school, lessons and...Soccer Games. However, a soccer game doesn't make you a soccer mom. I've become the screaming lunatic on the sidelines trying to motivate my child with my voice. In my defense, I only yell positive things at all the kids. One dad especially liked my, "Nice try!" to a child who so obviously missed a kick that it was sad. So I sit with the other soccer moms and we yell out encouragement. We cheer when our team scores and give the polite golf clap and a "good shot" to the other team when they score.

We sit huddled together in rain, cold and even a few snowflakes from time to time. Now this year, we've sat not huddled together trying to spread apart and find any scrap of shade in the blistering heat. So that's where you'll find me today---I'll be in the sling chair on the sidelines. I'm the one yelling, "Way to go Andrew....Keep hustling, Andrew...Nice kick buddy."
I now have a "soccer baby" who sits in the stroller and cheers.

Yup, I'm a soccer mom.

Friday, September 28, 2007

House Update

Here's the latest as of 5:30pm. The agent for the interested couple is having some sort of meeting with the couple and their parents. She is pitching our idea to them and will let us know what transpires.

In the meantime, our agent has another showing tomorrow morning between 10-11am. I'm just believing for an offer!

Thanks for your prayers and notes of encouragement!

Life is Crazy Sometimes

OK, let's face it. Life is sometimes really crazy. I guess you have to decide if you can laugh along with life or if you're going to let it nail you down. I've decided there's nothing I can do but laugh.

Let's bring everyone up to speed on "Thursday" (that was only yesterday). Got up in the morning, got kids ready for school and Sean took them because he went on Andrew's Field Trip to the River City Roundup celebration. They have a school day where there is a petting zoo, an exhibit of native Nebraska snakes and a skit. My boys had fun and Sean said the fourth graders did well on the bus with their behavior.

Robyn & Rebekah went to MOPS. I was helping in the 4/5 room. Afterwards, I was rejoicing because Rebekah stayed in her room the WHOLE time! No stroller time in the hall, she even got off the teacher's lap and she played with her baby doll. Hallelujah! (My girlfriend was taking pics for our MOPS website and caught the photo on the left of Rebekah in the nursery.)

As I was celebrating with friends in the hall before we left, the fire alarm went off. Well, gotta treat them like they are real and this was Not a drill. Thankfully, there were only a handful of moms and kids left--and the kids were with their moms, not still in classes. We evacuated and verified the building was cleared and secured. We got to see the fire truck come---and go. No fire---an alarm was pulled upstairs by one of the exits the MOPS moms and kids use. Hmmm---thankfully, I was downstairs holding my kid so I know she didn't pull the alarm. Sheer craziness.

In the meantime, Sean & I haven't heard a thing from our real estate agent. No calls, no emails. We had a showing on Wed. night at 7pm. (After we spent the day cleaning up paint supplies, vacuuming new carpet fuzzies and putting down a new bathroom floor.) See yesterday's post for more on that. We knew they were to make a decision Thurs. morning. Nothing all day long. We finally got a call from our agent around 5:15 to say they were waffling. They weren't sure about the older stove in the kitchen and they were worried about how to afford appliances. They have never owned a home before so need washer/dryer, refrigerator and they'd like a new stove. They were getting cold feet and talking about getting an apartment for them and their children to live in.

Sean & I called her back to offer some creative ways for us to get the full asking price and still get them appliances. She was surprised at our willingness to get creative. (Little does she know about our homes and how 'creative' we were in our offers to get what we needed.) She spoke to their agent and they are thinking about what they are going to do. We're optimistic about this because we appear to be their #1 or 2 choice and we're the ones stepping in to give both seller and buyer the best deal possible.

So we wait---and pray. And ask you to pray with us. We are asking you to continue to agree with us in prayer that the house is sold NOW! We know our buyer is out there and we've called them forth. We've just been waiting for them to show up---and we believe they did show up Wed. night. We are expecting this couple and their children to purchase our home. Would you agree that the offer would come and that their financing comes through. We are also asking God to bless whomever purchases our home with health and prosperity.

We'll keep you posted with how it goes. We still wait. And laugh---a lot. How crazy can life be? We go from snakes to fire alarms to houses and beyond in one day. I have to admit, life is pretty funny when you think about it!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Two Houses Isn't Double the Fun

Remember the old commercial for Doublemint Gum?? Sing along with me, "Double your pleasure, double your fun--with Doublemint, Doublemint, Doublemint Gum."

Well, having two houses isn't like that. It's just double the work. Please pray for us. We know the rightful owner of our former home is out there, but we'd like that person to step up now and purchase their new home.

If you didn't know, we moved late spring/early summer to a new home (still here in town). We know it's the right decision for us and our children for the long-term. It's the short term stuff that bogs me down. Who knew the housing market would take such a dramatic downturn? So, our former house is waiting. We put new carpeting into it on Tuesday and so I spent over an hour vaccuuming the carpet fuzzies up yesterday. We also repainted the kitchen to pure white so I spent another hour and a half with touch up/clean up.

Sean had to get out of work early and go finish putting down the new tile in the hall bath. We lived with carpet in there but wouldn't do that to somebody else. All of this in preparation for a 7pm showing. A family is moving from out of town. The wife was in town yesterday and had narrowed her list down (on the internet) and our former home was one she really wanted to see. So we negotiated with their agent to push back the showing as late as possible in order to give us time to clean up and finish the flooring. (We had told our agent to push all showings back until this morning or later so we'd have until bedtime Wed. to finish everything up.) However, when somebody wants in RIGHT NOW, you have to do your best.

So we are prayerfully optimistic that our buyers are coming with an offer for us Right Now! In Jesus' Name!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Spotlight on Andrew

Decided I needed to let Andrew have his day to shine---or whatever---in the blog.

Andrew is currently a very involved (a little too involved says mom) young man. He is finishing soccer season which happens to overlap swim lessons by a couple weeks. He also is taking piano lessons and does Awanas on Wed. nights. He was REALLY hoping to take violin lessons this year through school, but Mom said another 15-20 minutes of practice on top of 40 minutes of homework and 30 minutes of piano doesn't sound like you'll ever get to have fun or be a child again. I think most of the time he agrees with me, but he does long for another instrument. He is also a "Student Ambassador" on Thursday mornings which means he opens car doors and helps kids get out of the cars to keep the drop off line moving.

I was so pleased at school when I introduced myself to the Challenge teacher. She looked at me and the first thing she said was, "Andrew is the kindest student I've ever met." Doesn't that make you proud when you hear nice things about your kids? I was so very proud of Sean and I for raising such a wonderfully kind child. Yea us...then I get home and walk in the door to hear Andrew yelling at his brother--"LEAVE ME ALONE! Stop bugging me." So much for the kindest kid theory.

Although, I must say that most of the time, those brothers and sister love each other to pieces. They really don't fight much at all and they are kind to one another.

However, the biggest 'problem' with Andrew is his sense of humor. He gets it from his father. He has a dead-panned style of humor that always keeps you on your toes. He also likes to play tricks on you. In fact, on Sunday he got a kids meal toy and managed to keep us from knowing what it was. We got home and he got his baseball bat & ball out to play ball. Before you know it, he's up telling us how he did a bad thing and he can't tell us, he can only show us. We made him tell and he let us know that he accidentally hit the ball and it cracked the glass on the door really bad. Sean goes to look and discovers Andrew got one of those fake baseball breaking glass clings. He's put it on the front door to trick us. At first glance, it worked!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Caught Red-Handed

Ever realize that it is Way Too Quiet???? Well, the other morning as we were getting ready to leave for school, the boys were watching TV and I was trying to finish dressing Rebekah. I noticed Nathan was playing with the pile of cloth diapers (whole 'nother blog there--suffice it to say, I use the diaper service). Didn't really think anything of it and went on with my morning.

As I started the roll-call (or scream-call if you ask the kids), I'm yelling, "Nathan, Come Downstairs...It's time to GO!!!!" He was so quiet, I thought he was upstairs on the computer. He answers from the kitchen, "I'm here Mommy."

From there the conversation becomes something like:
Mommy: What are you doing?
Nathan: (No response.)
I look and he's taken a blue highlighter (he thinks it's a marker for grown ups like a sharpie) and colored all over a diaper.

Must decide quickly between laughter and discipline. Choose moderated discipline for this offense.
Mommy: Do you have a diaper?
No slouch in brains, Nathan responds: I don't know.
M: Please tell me you aren't coloring on a diaper that is not even ours. It belongs to the service and we just borrow from them?!?
N: Ummm... (tries to hide diaper)
M: What are we supposed to color on?
Nathan: Paper.
M: Is this paper?
N: I didn't mean to--I'm sorry. (runs to me, grabs my legs and says) I love you.
M: I love you too, but we don't color on diapers.
N: Bursts into tears and cries almost the whole way to school.

I have to remind him several times that he's not in that much trouble. The next day, I find the diaper where it had been tossed and looked at it. I asked him to explain his drawing. It's really rather good. He's using a combination of writing styles here. His kindergarten teacher has told the class that there is "Kindergarten writing" composed of pictures/letters as symbols/etc. and "Big People writing" which is how we write. Typically, he tries to write in Big People writing, but I think a diaper is a harder medium to work with.

The top face is sad because he's a villain. He is mean and makes the people sad.
"BB" is Blue Boy---a Superhero
IS = the word is
H = the word Here
So it says, "Blue Boy is here."
Blue Boy comes to save the day and defeats the mean villain. Everyone is so happy (happy face) because Blue Boy has saved the day.

Gotta admit, it's really cute...naughty, but cute.

A Day of Rest?

Welcome to Sunday, a day of rest. Well, isn't it supposed to be a day of rest?? I often wonder this as I rush to get ready for church, rush to get the kids dessed and fed before I leave for Praise & Worship Team pracitce. Then I rush to church while Sean finishes the morning preparations. When the family arrives, I rush to help check in all the kids and rush back to make sure I'm ready to go on time. No wonder I sometimes find it hard to feel that 'peace that passes understanding.'

With all that rushing, where is the rest? A few tricks I've learned along the way include laying out all clothes (even mine) the night before right down to socks and shoes. I prepack the diaper bag with everything needed (except bottles) and put a BIG note on it that says, PACK A BOTTLE SUN. MORNING!!! I've learned to set out the cereal bars the night before and have Rebekah's jar of baby food on the counter ready to go.

Most of all, I've learned to take a deep breath as I start my car and offer up a prayer to the One I'm hoping to serve. Lord, help me to leave the 'rush' behind so I can feel calm and peaceful. Help me to turn my back on the cares of the world and focus 100% of my energy into telling you, singing to you and showing you the love I have for you.

You know what? God is faithful. I'm able to step into the oasis He provides and find myself refreshed by His word and the message. And if the cares try to creep in, I take another deep breath and say, "Sorry God, I slipped. Forgive me and keep helping me here."

So as you find yourself in the rushing around trap. Stop! Take a deep breath. Remember Him who provides that perfect peace. And if you slip up, He's so gracious as to give us a do-over. Gotta love that!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Beg Your Pardon

Nathan has always been a soft-spoken child. Most of us never hear what he's trying to tell us. He also has a penchant for wandering his tale around in endless circles before reaching the point. Since he started Kindergarten, we've noticed a vast improvement in his speaking voice. Most of the time, he speaks up so you can hear him. His teacher's asst. told us that he's learning to speak up in the lunch line or he'll be stuck eating things he doesn't want. Apparently, on Ravioli day, when they asked if he wanted Ravioli or the sandwich, he answered in a LOUD voice, "I want THREE RAVIOLI'S PLEASE!!!!" He got only three.

It's a far cry from the day he was at Poppa & Grandma's this summer and Poppa couldn't hear what he was saying. Poppa kept saying, "Beg your pardon?" Finally, Nathan went to Grandma and asked why Poppa kept saying beg your pardon. She explained that it's a phrase you can say if you don't hear what the person said to you. It's a nice way to tell someone that they couldn't hear you.

Nathan thought about this and deduced, "So when Matthew West sings the song I Can't Hear You, he's really saying, 'Beg your pardon' to God."

If you'd like to hear the song, you can watch a music video of it (created by summer campers) by clicking HERE

Friday, September 21, 2007

MOPS, Field Trip and Open House

Yesterday was quite the busy and fun day for us. Rebekah & I had our first MOPS meeting of the year. I help with Publicity so we had fun seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Rebekah even decided to play in the nursery for short bursts of time. She seems to prefer being strolled in the triple stroller with the other criers up and down the halls. We are pleased with how far she's come in a fairly short time.

Dropped her off with Daddy after MOPS so I could dash to school and join Andrew for his field trip. We got to attend a Pow-Wow and learn all sorts of things about Native American culture. I learned a lot of interesting things that I didn't know. We got to talk to a woman who makes traditional Native American clothing and she told us about the regalia they wear for Pow Wows. We learned and saw some beadmaking skills. She had the most intricate designs. It was a lot of fun and Andrew even let me sit with him on the bus.

Last night we had Open House at school. Nathan seems to really love school. We couldn't leave until he took us to the library and gym and told us about music and art. We also saw his room where he sat in his teacher's chair and "taught" a mini-class for us. We learned about Mr. Spacer who helps us put spaces between our words and he read us the classroom news. Andrew's room has a class pet--Mexican Jumping Beans. Andrew showed us around his room while Rebekah kept taking one nametag off of a desk. I hope the nametag still sticks after her 'help' with it.

By the time we got home, I was worn out! It was great to see snippets of what goes on in their school lives every day. They both have excellent teachers and they both love school.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Are you into trash?

Ever wondered how many times you have to repeat something in order for your children to hear what you say---and OBEY?!?

Rebekah is currently into trash. And when I say "into" trash, I mean she's IN-TO trash. How many hand thumps, time outs and screaming mommy sessions will it take?? I'm not sure. I gave up around 100.

Her current mode of operation is stealth mode. She innocently wanders into the kitchen under the guise of playing with a toy or ball. She moves steadily closer until...WHAMMO...she's headfirst in my tall kitchen trashcan trying to dig out the trash. She likes to make sure we aren't wasting food so any food items tossed in have to be buried so they aren't re-eaten by the trash girl. She also loves to get the cups from fast food restaurants out of the trash and shake them all over the living room. (I'm sure many of you are laughing, but you have to trust me when I tell you this is NO laughing matter.) Since I prefer Pepsi and Sean likes Dr. Pepper, I've been spending my days cleaning up dark pop splatters out of my new carpet. Am I amused? Not a bit. I've now taken to rinsing my cups before I throw them away. I feel like the poster child for Type A Behaviors. Come on---it's a disposable cup and I'm washing it to put in the trash?!?

So the tally continues to rise as I repeat--NO TRASH!

And that's only the trash story. You haven't heard a thing yet about our other conversation. It sounds something like----Rebekah--NO BUTTONS....

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Date Night

Sean & I (with our sidekick Rebekah) had a nice date tonight. I won a free meal at Taco Del Mar. When they called, the new owner told me that I didn't win, but my card was picked as the best business card in the fishbowl. The employees loved it so much that the owner decided to give me a prize, even though I didn't win.

So, I guess I really won anyway!! Love those business cards. Makes me look so organized when I'm not digging for some scrap of a receipt to write my phone number on. I put our picture from Date Night above. Enjoy!

Rubber Chicken Toss--The Movie

I thought I'd tackle a fun feature right away. Below is a video of my boys at the Royal's Game. They were chosen to compete in the "Rubber Chicken Toss" where one (Nathan) tosses rubber chickens to Andrew. Andrew is supposed to catch them in the skillet. It's about the funniest thing we ever saw!! Nathan just couldn't toss those rubber chickens worth a darn. They won free Hamburger Helper T-shirts for competing. More importantly, they were filmed and put onto the big screen in the stadium as they competed. Enjoy our online "Home Movie Event".

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Welcome to my forray into the Wonderful World of Blogging

I know most of you are asking--why blog, aren't you busy enough as it is?
The answer to that is a resounding, "YES, I'm Busy!!" But, amongst the to-do lists, I want to take a few moments to cherish each day (or try to) as we won't have this chance again. I want to savor moments with my kids and have a central location for everyone to check up on our clan.

I'm hoping to post some of our photos so you can see the kids grow and change and live life.

Keep checking back for kid, family and other updates--and maybe a few fun things thrown in.
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