Friday, February 26, 2010

Those Girls Waving

We were lucky enough to get to go meet JB for dinner at Salerno's close to his work, since the kids were really missing him, and it's for sure going to be a late work night. (Mmmmmm - giant slices with the perfect crust, and mine topped with fresh mozzarella di bufala, tomatoes, & basil chiffonade = heaven!) There were some young high schoolers in there - not acting up at all, but I noticed the girls had on cute plaid private school skirts.

As we loaded up for home after kissing Daddy goodbye, Will said, "Those girls were waving at me." I hadn't noticed, b/c my back was to them as we ate with Will in front of me, but of course I *love* my handsome boy garnering favorable attention, so I squealed, "Awww! Did you wave back?"

"No. I was scared." Heart. Melted. Completely.

"Awww, Buddy! You're going to have girls waving at you your whole life! They thought you were cute!"

"Why? Why are girls always going to wave at me?" (said with genuine innocence - how much longer will that last???)

"Because they like you and want to be your friend!"

*Major sigh of frustration* "I already HAVE too many girlfriends!!!!! I don't need any more! I have all of the girls at Sissy's tap, a few girls at school, just...ugh!"

"Well, that's OK for now! You don't have to have just one girlfriend, yet. Not until you're older." (Mixed feelings on giving him the green light to be a player right now! :-P) "After you're older and have had different girlfriends one at a time, you'll find one that you want to be your only girlfriend forever, and that's who you can ask to marry you!" (He's been very concerned the last few months with whom can he ask to marry him & what if no one wants to. I can't even type that w/o wanting to cry! He'll be the best catch any girl could dream of, and y'all know I am 100% objective! ;-))

"How old do you have to be to get married?"

"25" :-)

"How old will you be when I'm 25?"


"FIFTY-ONE!!!!! How old will LaLa [my mom] be? 190?"

"No!!! She'll be in her 70's."

"How old will Bonnie [our beagle] be?"

"Oh honey, Bonnie will be in Heaven then. Dogs don't live the same as people. They only live until maybe 15."

"OK." (I hope this doesn't sound weird, but I love how the topic of death doesn't upset him! It makes me so excited that already at 5 years old, he's confident in Heaven. :-D)

Tonight as I tucked him into bed, he said, "You know those girls?"

"The ones waving at you?"

"Yeah. Their skirts were this [demonstrates] long." Gulp. Uh, oh...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Requiem for a Parent

I feel for Joannie Rochette, the figure skater from Canada whose mother died on Sunday, two days before her 1st Olympic skate. I think skating was the best thing she could have done, and while she's certainly sad now, I don't think it will fully hit her until this is over.

Obviously I wasn't in the Olympics, but my dad passed away in between my two concert performances of Mozart's Requiem in college. (BTW - I got major chills, as the last skater just began skating as I type this to a Requiem song!!!) I had prepared for months for these concerts, and I was full of joy over my 1st performance the night before. When I got the news about my dad, of course I cried...but it didn't quite seem real. I was at college and hadn't seen him in a few weeks. It wasn't weird that he wasn't around. I'm sure now that my brain just coped at the time using this sense of detachment, but the boring day at home before out-of-town family arrived & the funeral to-do began, I just paced the house singing my music. I'm pretty sure my mom thought I was being disrespectful, but we were in SUCH different emotional places. I wished I could go & sing that night for my dad. It was even the most poetically perfect piece: Requiem! I didn't want to sit on the couch and cry, yet, at that point.

I'm proud of Joannie and so glad she is still skating this week. I know that no matter what, it will hurt so much worse for her down the road as the gushing sympathy fades and reality sinks in, as she misses her mom being here for the little things, esp. even just being able to call her and talk; I am really glad she is getting this chance to do what she loves right now to honor her mom.

Fairytale Prince

I loved this from Journey to the Cross today. All of us girls want the fairytale of a prince on a white horse riding in to rescue us:

Princes are easier to understand than God, and it's tempting to give our trust to whoever will fill those princely shoes. But we need our faith. Remember that God’s plans will not perish. Far beneath our logical selves, we need deep trust in the all-powerful being who lifts us up and who will reign for all generations.

My husband is my prince, but as much as I want him to have control over rescuing us and taking me home, I know our path is truly set by God. I have to keep praying that God shows my prince favor and sends us that white horse ASAP, please. :-)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Family DVD

Every year since Will was born I have made a DVD of our family video clips, like these. (What on earth is the point of having a camcorder if you never watch/use the video??? That would make me insane! Esp. if I let the video pile up over the years. Yes, I completely acknowledge my OCDness over this; it's equal to my digiscrapping obsession.) It's like doing a video yearbook every year. I do our clips, and then I do a slide show of our best photos set to whatever songs had meaning to us that year on each DVD. Usually I make the DVD in November, b/c I have each one run August-August. (Will was born in August, and then I figured that was a good standard, since that would fit into doing it by school years in the future, and it would also give me several months every year to get around to doing it for family Christmas gifts.) Four years in a row, I was golden.

Last year, JB bought me a new JVC Everio camcorder for my birthday, but we couldn't get the clips to work on our computer. We put off figuring it out. We put it off and put it off some more... I actually let it go for Christmas... Finally, I've started to stress myself out over the fact that it's 2010 and the 2008-2009 DVD is not done, so no more putting it off.

I always think this DVD is such a pain to sit down & start, (and it totally is for the two days (better than the two weeks it took 5 years ago for the first one!) that I devote to making it,) but after it's done? It is AMAZING! I know I have my scrapbook & website photos, but this video floors me every year. I am *always* shocked at how much younger the kids act & sound at the beginning of each one. I always think that I have remembered them accurately, but I totally never do! My memories of them then are too colored by who they have become since.

Will & Annelise LOVE watching them, too! First off, they see themselves on TV! Then they get to relive all of the cool things we've done and see all the people they love - most of whom don't live anywhere near us. It's just priceless. I am so thankful to have these movies!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Sunny Side

The 8" of snow that we're supposed to get tonight have already begun to fall, but I noticed something while I was out earlier today, before it started. All of the houses on our side of the street had grassy yards, while all the yards on the other side of the street were still totally snow-covered. The way the sun shines on our street - when it's actually warm enough - our yards melt, while the shadows of the homes cover the yards on the opposite side.

Thank you, God, for letting me live on the sunny side of the street!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dance Semester #4!

My 4th session of dance classes began yesterday. That means my 4th new round of students this year...and that's the thing I dislike about my current studio. I hate that every month and a half, I get a whole new set of girls in every single class. There's no building on steps throughout the year; teaching here has a very Groundhog Day feel to it. I don't feel like I have a personal connection with any of my students - something I have always cultivated. I just don't have much emotion over these classes; they're all "fine". I *do* think it's a cool option for young dancers just starting out to get to try lots of different classes w/o being trapped in one they aren't enjoying for a full year; but there's also no incentive for them to make a commitment & stick with a certain class to see how they can learn & grow. I don't feel like they are getting a true picture of what dance class really is. On the flipside, there is more stability with the older classes, (the youngest ones, which I teach, are the ones that have the major turnover; I can't teach the older ones, b/c Will & Annelise are out of school by then.)

For the very first time, though, I have one class (creative movement, ages 3-5) who all signed up for back-to-back sessions, so I already know them and can actually build on what we did the last 6 weeks! I can't even explain the relief I felt when I read the roster.

I am very much looking forward to going back to a tradtional studio one day whenever, wherever we move next. I miss the growth & connections working with the same students all year, and I miss recital choreography.

Journey to the Cross

Y'all know how much I enjoyed the "Following the Star" free online Advent devotional, and now their Lenten one has begun: "Journey to the Cross". To get into the right frame of mind, this week's devotionals begin like this:

The ability - and the responsibility - to choose is a part of what makes us human. The way we make those choices, and the values we use in our decisions, reflect the influence our faith has in guiding us.

Consider now the values that guide and direct you; think about the call of God to follow. How is God shaping you as you walk the path of faith?

Pretty heavy and extremely timely...

Ariel Au Naturel

Annelise explained to me today that she wants give her Ariel barbie doll to Goodwill, b/c "She's always 'nekked.' She always takes her clothes off every time, even when she goes out to eat."

This coming from the girl who has instantly stripped every single doll she's ever gotten, (except for Babe, b/c - thank heavens - hers can't come off!) It took everything I had not to #1 - burst into hysterical laughter and #2 - pull the car over to make that my FB status. (I waited until we got to lunch. :-P)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fat Tuesday

I felt awfully heavy today. There's no news, just really feeling the frustration JB & I have. I KNOW change is coming. That is a fact. When, where, & how, though are totally up in the air. His hours at work are getting worse & worse, and I feel us slipping back into bad Michigan times. Yesterday, Will sighed out of the blue, "Why does Daddy have to go in early now, too???" (Him being home for breakfast has been the saving grace that makes him not coming home until 10 PM every night OK for the kids.) I know this won't last, b/c I know God will deliver us from this situation. We are NOT going around that same mountain, again. But I can't seem to shake the weight of the stress today. I want to want to revel - it's Mardi Gras, people! Laissez les bon temps rouler! (Und froher Faschingsdienstag, Deutschland!)

After school, the kids and I mailed out the KidsLink Downrage card kits my MOPS group put together for children of deployed soldiers. Today was the first day you could mail them in, so I've just been holding them since we finished last month. Ours are going to military children at Fort Riley, Kansas.

I don't know what's gotten into Annelise, but she is off the wall today. She won't.stop.talking. (Which is saying a lot coming from ME! :-P) She serenaded everyone in line at the post office singing to herself, (although it was a song about loving mommy, so that actually rocked,) and I don't think she's taken more than a couple breaths since she got home from school. I was so ecstatic to pick up Will, so he could talk to her!

After the post office, the kids wanted a treat, and I was looking for something to amp up the festivity of the day, so we went to Whole Paycheck* and bought a King Cake!

King Cakes are a Mardi Gras tradition. They have a cinnamon roll-like filling on the inside with icing colored with traditional Mardi Gras-colored sugars on the outside. (Think elaborate, filled coffee cake.) The purple represents the passion of Christ (or justice), green represents hope (faith) and gold the rewards of leading a Christian life (power). There's a little plastic baby figurine that's usually baked inside (ours was just set in the box, though - boo!) and if you get the piece with the baby, you get good luck & have to buy the next King Cake. (The baby is to remind us of the Christ child.)

People up north here are all about pączki (pronounced "POONCH-kee") on Shrove Tuesday. They're traditional Polish doughnuts filled with jelly or creme. Pączki are good, too, but I'd rather have King Cake. (I am super particular about my doughnut-esque pastries. Krispy Kreme or NOTHING. I won't even eat at Dunkin' Donuts. :-P)

*Whole Paycheck = Whole Foods ;-) My friends couldn't believe we were moving only 1 mile away from a Whole Foods last year, but I only go there like once every 4 months. It's SO expensive! I am all about Trader Joe's!!! (Which is LESS than a mile away! I am so going to miss that one day...) But I remembered being in WF this week last year & they had delicious King Cakes - a fact I just could not forget today. :-P

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's, Chinese New Year, & Daytona

Valentine's has never been a big deal to me & JB. We spent our first few dating Valentine's Days apart, (the first one, I was living in Germany & he in Wisconsin!) so that kind of set a precedent for us being low key. I never put expectations on it, but this weekend has been tremendous! Last night we had a date night to see the movie Valentine's Day at our favorite movie theatre that serves dinner & drinks to your seats during the show, which makes it feel even more special. I was trying not to build the movie up too much in my head, b/c usually movies with a bunch of stars rely on the starpower to carry them with no quality script; but this was actually charming! We both really enjoyed it.

This morning, JB gave us all gifts! He gave Will another knight on horseback for his big castle set that he got for Christmas and Sissy a giant stuffed teddy bear, (which cracked me up after seeing the movie last night, b/c he bought it even before we went out!) She is in total love with this bear - it's blonde, almost as tall as she is, and sooo soft! She actually gave him a name right off the bat, too: Peyton Mayonnaise

Have you ever heard anything more adorably hysterical???

I received the two most perfect cards, and JB found the last box of my absolute favorite Cella's Chocolate Covered Cherries. (They *must* be Cella's, with the 100% liquid centers - no white stuff in there! I would actually rather have these than Godiva truffles. Seriously.) I got JB two mp3 songs that he's really been wanting and that make him really happy. ("Say Hey (I Love You)" - which makes us smile & want to dance! - and "Hallelujah" - which has been stuck in his head & driving him crazy for over a month. k.d. lang was the last straw Friday night. :-P)

It was just such a happy, fun morning.

I'm also celebrating Chinese New Year today with bubble tea from my FAVE Asian restuarant, which was actually featured nationally in Family Fun magazine this month for it! I was so ecstatic to see the article for Joy Yee!!! (I'm sipping almond milk tea right now. Mmmmmm...)

And finally, not only is it Valentine's & Chinese New Year...but today is the start of the new NASCAR season, the Daytona 500. I grew up in the heart of racing...and absolutely despised it until Will turned our household into fans. I cannot even believe I am typing this out, but I'm actually excited & glad it has started back up. :-P Because the Redskins are my biggest sports passion, and Joe Gibbs (one of the Skins most legendary coaches) owns a race team, we root for all of his drivers: Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, & Joey Logano. I think it's ironic that I feel closer to home watching it now, when I never would have been caught dead watching it growing up. :-D (And I especially love having my kids hear the announcers "talk right". ;-))

Friday, February 12, 2010

Waiting with Peace, Pain, & Tears and Being a World Citizen

You know when you're waiting to hear something that means the world to you, but is of no urgency whatsoever to the person who is either deciding the news or delivering it? Maybe you don't (bless you, if you don't!) but I've been there countless times over the last 10 years in the "real world" since college. I think I am driving myself the least crazy I ever have right now, though. Before I even put my feet on the floor this morning, I got a word from God.

Backstory: I switched my alarm clock with Will a while back, b/c he wanted one with a CD player in his room, and I only use the radio, anyway, so I didn't mind. I've been irritated, though, that I can't get my radio station to pick up on my "new" one. It picks up maybe 3 stations total, and the only thing I can get w/o major static is this old school organ church music station.

It's actually pretty hysterical to wake up to sometimes, but this morning was divine: a gorgeous chorale repeating over and over, "Wait upon the Lord, wait upon the Lord, wait upon the Lord, wait upon the Lord, wait upon the Lord, wait upon the Lord..." I sat up to turn it off after a minute and said, "OK, God. I hear you today." And I've had peace all day.

I've focused on more great verses, too:

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord . "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you," says the Lord. "I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land." - Jeremiah 29:11-14

Then he said, "Don't be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer." - Daniel 10:12 (God gives peace even when you are living a nightmare. You just have to ask.)

See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The LORD GOD is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. - Isaiah 12:2

You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. - Psalm 63:5 (God is the only thing that satisfies us; not jobs, people, things, etc.)
He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. - Job 9:10 (There will always be things we don't have the answers to. Trade your questions for trust. Blessed are those who believe but still do not understand.)

So, the pain part. When we moved into this house over 13 months ago, I vigilantly pointed out the step down from our kitchen into the family room. I could just see the kids tearing through the house, tripping, and breaking a bone or at least busting a lip. And they have certainly tripped over it this last year...but *I* never had - until today. We were on our way out the door, and I just wanted to hop over to the couch and grab the remote to turn off the TV. I don't know if it was my clunky shoes or if I just had a moment of complete incoherence, but the next thing I knew, my shins were smacking the wooden ledge and I was flat on my face. Owwwww! I apparently tried to catch myself with my right hand (thank goodness! I'm a lefty, so I can still function) and that hurts worse than anything else, (bending my thumb.) :-( I'll be totally fine, but I just wanted to cry, "Seriously???"

And the tears: no, not from falling, (although I did cry for a second,) but from the Olympic opening ceremonies. I've said it before, but I am utterly obsessed with the idea of shared experience. Anything that brings people from all over the country and especially the world together stops me in my tracks. I *have* to get in on it and watch as much as I can with everyone. For whatever reason, it's extremely important to me to be a world citizen. Maybe it's b/c my parents instilled such a deep value for respecting and learning about other cultures? We watched the news together every night that I can remember, and the key thing was, my parents explained it. It wasn't a passive thing on above our heads. I'm already trying to do the same (on a monitored level, since they're still so young) with Will & Annelise - like explaining Haiti, for example. Another big family thing growing up was watching "National Geographic" specials. I think that set me on the path to becoming a geography queen. That and - I swear I'm not joking - our World Map shower curtain in my & Andy's bathroom! Like it or not, it's a place I sat for at least a few minutes every single day; it was in front of my face, and boy did I learn my countries!!! (Yes, I have one for Will & Annelise, too!)

I just can't fathom not wanting to learn everything and experience as much as you can about this amazing world God has made! I have always been insatiably curious about it and have always longed to feel connected to (or able to identify with) as many people as possible. (Maybe that's why I love blogging, too?)

Anyway, the Olympics totally fall into the "world coming together" & learning about other cultures spectrum, so of course, I am watching. I really don't give a flip about winter sports, (y'all know how much I hate winter period! I'll probably only purposely watch figure skating & men's hockey,) but I still can't help getting misty when I hear a moving personal story and see that athlete go on to win.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Earthquake & Nightmares

Poor Will had nightmares last night. I think he's maybe had 3 bad dreams before ever? But last night, he cried out at 10:30, 11:20, 12:15, 2, and 3:30. The first time, I crawled into bed with him & asked what was wrong. He was crying and said, "The race track I built on my pillow fell apart!" I asked if it was one he dreamed about, and he wailed, "No! The real one!" (There was no race track on his pillow - dun! dun! dun! He was still asleep.) I told him it was OK, that we could rebuild it in the morning, just like when his train tracks get messed up, and that was enough to settle him down. He never really woke up throughout the night, but it broke my heart that he was so tormented.

Because I was up with him, again, at 3:30, I was instantly awake when our EARTHQUAKE hit at 4 AM!!!!! It was a 4.3 centered 23 miles away. People apparently felt it in Iowa, Wisconsin, & Michigan, too! No damage at all, (and since that's the case, I can say it was freaky cool to feel it!) For a split second I thought it was a rumbling snow plow, but then I KNEW exactly what it was, and I shook JB awake, too. The only other earthquake I've felt was in Georgia, (it was at 4 AM, too - weird!) and this was just the same.

I'm glad I had asked Will what he dreamed about, b/c I'd be royally freaked if he had dreamed all night about earthquakes!

Heiße Milch mit Honig

Last night I introduced the kids to heiße Milch mit Honig (hot milk with honey in it) - a delicacy I discovered at cafés when I lived in Germany. I don't like coffee, and this is the ultimate in sweet, creamy, soothing comfort, (that won't keep you awake, unlike chai.) Most Americans seem to be completely grossed out by the thought, but it is divine.

The kids had "helped" JB shovel & plow last night (around 8" of snow, I think) and they wanted hot chocolate so badly when they came in. I had no more instant, and it was almost bedtime, so I didn't want to make it from scratch. Heiße Milch mit Honig was the perfect alternative, and they LOVED it! Made me happy. :-)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Puppy Breath

On the "Puppies" episode of Zoboomafoo*, they explained that puppies have puppy breath from drinking milk, b/c they don't eat regular dog food, yet. Now every.single.time. my kids drink a cup of milk, they say, "I've got puppy breath! I've got puppy breath!" :-)

*One of my kids' favorite shows is Zoboomafoo on PBS Kids Sprout. (I actually had no idea they don't produce new episodes anymore!) Zoboomafoo is a lemur, which has now become their favorite animal. (Thank goodness there's a big lemur area at our zoo! :-)) We even occasionally say, "Mangatsika!" (a Malagasy (language of Madagascar) exclamation meaning "I can't belive my eyes! Amazing!") just like he does. :-P I like that it's not a whiny cartoon, and we LOVELOVELOVE nature shows. Our other current whole-family fave? Wild Recon on Animal Planet, where "Donald Schultz travels the world in search of rare species that may hold vital cures for deadly diseases." Fascinating!

Unacceptable Hopelessness

We had an amazing church service yesterday. I got to sing, which always fills me up like no other, and I was especially excited to sing a new song our worship leader wrote called "Rescue" with him. I wish I had a recording of it to share - it's just so beautiful.

Our pastor (and one of our BFFs; we double-dated with him & his wife Saturday night and laughed hysterically the whole time. We're both the same age, which has been fascinating, b/c we've never had a young pastor before, but he totally has a gift! JB & I both eagerly look forward to his sermons every week! Sorry to digress, anyway he...) spoke yesterday on hope.

Super-famous 1 Corinthians 13:13 says, "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." These three should be our ultimate distinguishing characteristics. If someone who claims to be a follower of Christ has no love in his heart for anyone, we see he is obviously not really a Christian. If a someone says they're a Christian but isn't sure if there's really a heaven or if Jesus is really real, (no faith,) of course we know he is not really a Christian. So why then is it "acceptable" to us when Christians walk around without hope: "Well, I just don't know what we're going to do... Things are so bad & so tough, we're just in despair... I can't stop freaking out..."

That hit me like a ton of bricks - especially right now, since we don't know what/where the next few months could bring us, and b/c I do feel like I've had a major break-through on this point. My close friends keep asking if there's been any job offer news or decisions, (nope,) and they cannot believe I am not freaking out. A couple years ago, I would've been churning 24/7 over the possibilities...but I know it's b/c deep down, I just wanted control (& my way,) and I kept trying to come up with ways to make it happen, (none of which ever came to fruition, b/c - HELLO - God was in control; not me!) I really feel like I've grown in hope - not that I don't have TONS more growing to do!!!!! But compared to how I would have been mulling different scenarios ad nauseum, which would have been (& was) a total waste of time instead of TRULY trusting (not just *saying* I trust) God to put us in the perfect places & positions? Yeah. My hope is in Him.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Anesthesia-Induced Shopping

God hears & answers prayer! I had my root canal this morning, and I have to say, it wasn't even as bad as most fillings I've had!!! (And no, I'm not still numb & just don't know how bad it actually hurts. :-P) I'm sure tomorrow morning after all night w/o ibuprofen will be a sorer story, but for today? PRAISE! The root canal was on my front tooth! (No clue how it got damaged in the first place - I haven't had any major trauma to it that I can remember, but it was totally dead. The endodontist asked if I had been in a bar fight. ;-)) I was freaking out b/c that's such a major, prominent part of my smile; but I actually think it being up front made it way easier than digging around in the back would have been. Follow up February 16th!

So, I think the mania of the anesthetic nudged me to shop online for Annelise this afternoon. I *never, ever* buy the kids clothes online, (not b/c there's anything wrong with it, but just b/c I'm so cheap! I usually walk around holding stuff in stores for an hour, just to set it all back at the last minute. :-P) But I got an email about two great sales from one of my absolute favorite children's clothiers (they also have GREAT brother/sister coordinating outfits!) and just couldn't pass them up. A Polo Ralph Lauren dress for over 60% off and a cute rash guard bathing suit on sale, too. [Polo-style dresses are my #1 favorite look for her, & she's had the same old swimwear the last 2 years. (But hey - it fit!)] I think the left-over anesthesia making my heart race spurred me on to checkout before I had time to vacillate. :-P

But I totally don't have buyer's remorse, b/c I'd been looking for a Polo super sale for months; and this is a fall/winter Polo dress, so she can wear it now for a few months even before next fall! Also, when I googled around before buying to see if the swimwear was really a good deal, I was so surprised to see how expensive rash guard sets are! But that's what we like, so this was a perfect deal. I am all about the rash guard tops for extra sun protection; plus - although I think they are SOOO CUTE - we don't like the idea of our little girl in a bikini, so I always go for the rash guard sets. This one has green (Annelise's favorite color) and even some sparkles! ;-) I'm a little bummed that she won't get to wear the bathing suit for so long, still, but all the cute ones are always sold out by March, anyway, so I'm glad I got it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

In Defense of Anti-Playdate-ism

I acknowledge that I never, ever initiate playdates, and I truly hope none of my friends think I'm rude or don't really want to hang out b/c of it!!! If you invite us over, we would LOVE to come; but I really just have a playdate block when it comes to scheduling any, myself. Both kids now are in school and entertained this year every morning Monday-Friday; when they get home, they are content playing together whenever we're not running errands.

[Sidebar: I *LOVELOVELOVE* running errands! And I LOVE taking the kids with me! I have always purposely waited to do errands until they are with me. (If I have free time, I want to spend it watching not-child-friendly TiVo or online! Not doing stuff I can do WITH them!!!) But apparently I am not normal, and most moms loathe running errands with their kids. They see it as a hassle, but I see it as free entertainment, where we can be out & about and even shop with a purpose! It's FUN!!! And no, I don't think I'm insane. (On this point, anyway.)]

So when my kids are so entertained with school, errands, and then themselves, it's just never on my mind to schedule anything else. They see their friends at school. They see church friends on Sundays and dance friends on Fridays. It's just not on my radar to add anything else to the calendar.

NOT saying that we don't enjoy getting together with friends, b/c I LOVE it!!!

But the other part is, I don't really ever want to hang out at my house. If I'm home, I want to get my own stuff done. If I want to socialize, I want us to go somewhere fun & *do* something! But that always seems to be more of a hassle, b/c most of my friends are still juggling nap schedules (Hahaha! WTH are those???) around 2 PM, which is right when we're raring to go after school. I always enjoy hanging out at other people's homes for playdates, but then I feel guilty b/c I never invite anyone over here. But, we were at their house, b/c it made naptime easier for them, and that's totally awesome with me! I still feel guilty, though, that I don't really ever reciprocate; but I don't want to hang out at my house! I want to run around; but that doesn't usually fit into their schedules, so...

It's a vicious circle. :-P In the end, it just seems like more of a PITA than it's worth. Is that bad? I guess I just feel a bit disconnected from "normal" at this age, b/c none of my other friends have their 3-year-olds in preschool 5 days a week (it's a Montessori thing & we have LOVED it - both kids & me!!!) so my friends still need something more those other days. We don't. ...But I admit, it does make me feel a little weird to read about this playdate or that playdate on FB and think, "Maybe I'm missing out a little on that connection time with my girlfriends?"

...Eh, in reality, for the most part probably not. It takes 3 hours to have a 5 minute conversation when you're wrangling kids on a playdate! That is why, even with both kids in school now, MOPS is still *such* a huge priority in my life! It's not about the kids at all - it's about quality, uninterrupted, kid-free time for moms to actually talk & connect! :-)

BTW - all this anti-playdate-ism only applies during the school year. Summer is a whole different story! The key factor in playdates not being important to us is that the kids are entertained with school. After that's over, not only do we NEED to schedule stuff to do, but it's also not nearly as big of a hassle, b/c we're actually available in the mornings, unlike now where we only have an afternoon window.

Pressing on:

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. - Romans 5:5

IN YOU, O Lord, do I put my trust and seek refuge; let me never be put to shame or [have my hope in You] disappointed; deliver me in Your righteousness! - Psalm 31:1

Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God - Psalm 42:5b

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sloppy Joe, Sloppy Sloppy Joe

My dear friend, Liz, shared this link for "Sloppy Cornbread" - sloppy joes baked with bread on top: my idea of heaven! I've had this Mexican-style dozens of times, but I really don't care for heavy taco seasoning; why did I never think to just do plain sloppy joes (which I ADORE) instead? I *will* make this this week! (I would have done it tonight, but I already had my black beans & yellow rice going.) I even love that her sloppy joes are sans nasty bell peppers!

(And am I the only one who has to sing it like Adam Sandler in my head every.single.time. I read/say/hear "sloppy joe"???)

Still being filled with strength:

And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]! O people who dwell in Zion at Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. - Isaiah 30:18-19

But those who wait for the Lord’s helpt find renewed strength; they rise up as if they had eagles’ wings, they run without growing weary, they walk without getting tired. - Isaiah 40:31