Monday, December 14

Christmas Creed

I believe in Jesus Christ and in the beauty of the gospel begun in Bethlehem.

I believe in the one whose spirit glorified a little town; and whose spirit still brings music to persons all over the world, in towns both large and small.

I believe in the one for whom the crowded inn could find no room, and I confess that my heart still sometimes wants to exclude Christ from my life today.

I believe in the one who the rulers of the earth ignored and the proud could never understand; whose life was among common people, whose welcome came from persons of hungry hearts.

I believe in the one who proclaimed the love of God to be invincible.

I believe in the one whose cradle was a mother’s arms, whose modest home in Nazareth had love for its only wealth, who looked at persons and made them see what God’s love saw in them, who by love brought sinners back to purity, and lifted human weakness up to meet the strength of God.

I confess my ever-lasting need of God: The need of forgiveness for our selfishness and greed, the need of new life for empty souls, the need of love for hearts grown cold.

I believe in God who gives us the best of himself. I believe in Jesus, the son of the living God, born in Bethlehem this night, for me and for the world.

- Anonymous

Wednesday, November 4

Did You Miss Me At All?

I can't believe I have let my blog go for so long. It's a combination of several things: I got behind and hated to skip over some posts I wanted to do which meant I didn't post anything, we started school back up in September and we're using a more Mommy/Teacher-intensive curriculum than before, and I have a new hobby that takes up my "spare" time.

But I am biting the bullet and skipping over a bunch of things I wanted to post and going right to the last excuse on my list: my new hobby. I am now a "sweeper." I enter sweepstakes and contests, and I enter a lot of them. Which brings me to the topic of my post: My biggest win so far was a four-night/five-day trip for two to Orlando, Florida, to go see the 2009 Dew Tour Finals. What? I know it doesn't sound like something I'd enter, but the odds were good and my hubby's dad lives near Orlando, so I figured it would be worth trying.

The Omni ChampionsGate Resort

It turned out to be an incredible trip! We flew first class to Orlando, had a car rental which wasn't listed as part of the prize, we stayed at an incredible resort and were given an upgraded room which gave us access to all kinds of things for free at the resort, we had breakfast at the hotel each day, four-day VIP passes to the Dew Tour, a meet and greet with one of the skateboard celebrities (Paul Rodriguez), and $500 cash!

The view from our room which shows one of my new
favorite things...the lazy river.

Another view from our room showing one pool,
jacuzzi, fountain, and golf course.

Once we arrived in Orlando and got our cute little rental car (Mazda 3), we picked up our VIP passes and grabbed some free food from the VIP lounge before heading to our hotel. We were duly impressed with our accomodations! The staff was incredibly friendly and did everything they could to make us comfortable.

We spent the next day relaxing and enjoying the resort, including a delicious breakfast. They had a Par 3 nine-hole golf course that was free, so I played golf for the very first time. I stink at it, but it was still enjoyable and pretty good exercise too.

After golf, we got into our swimsuits and played in the water. The lazy river was so much fun! I was talked into going down the water slide once, and hubby went down a couple of times. Mostly we just relaxed and enjoyed each other's company, which is something we don't get to do a whole lot. After the pool, we explored the resort a little before heading back up to our room to get cleaned up for dinner.

We aren't really into the whole skateboarding and BMX scene, but we decided to go to the Meet and Greet that was set up for us and to watch the Vert BMX finals that evening. We enjoyed the evening and were glad we went, but we were happy when we were able to sell our VIP passes on CraigsList for the remaining two days.

Us and Paul Rodriguez, who doesn't look much like his comedian dad.

Can you believe the height this guy is getting? These people are crazy!

Saturday after breakfast, Eddie went to play golf with his dad while I relaxed at the hotel. In fact, I ended up falling asleep for almost an hour while watching TV. I was fighting a cold, but we bought some Zicam and it did the trick. I had a special lunch and afternoon with a friend I haven't seen in over ten years! Bonnie drove 90 minutes to come visit with me, and we had a nice lunch and great afternoon chatting. After Bonnie left we played another nine holes of golf and went to dinner at the glamorous Waffle House. They have the best waffles and hash browns and our whole meal including dessert was $12!

Sunday we went to church at St. Andrews where R.C. Sproul preaches. They have just moved into their new church building, and it is huge but lovely. We spoke briefly with Dr. Sproul and even had a chance to say hi to Alan Keyes who was in town for a conference.

After church we met Ed's dad and his wife Irma for lunch at Mt. Dora. Irma is Cuban, and we actually ended up eating at a little Cuban restaurant, which was a first for Ed and me. Unfortunately, the golf game pretty much wore Ed's dad out the previous day, so he needed to go home after lunch. Ed and I walked around a park there in Mt. Dora for a few minutes before driving back to the hotel.

After making a stop at the hotel, we decided to drive to Downtown Disney for dinner at the Rainforest Cafe. We haven't been before, and it was a fun experience. After dinner we browsed some of the shops and found something to bring the kids home. I'm not much of a shopper and we only made it through a small fraction of the shops before I was ready to leave.

I took this picture just for my Disney-loving sister-in-law.
In case you can't tell, it's a power pole! Cute, huh?

Monday was our last day, but we requested a late check-out so we slept in, had breakfast, relaxed in the jacuzzi, went in the lazy river, went back in the jacuzzi and just generally enjoyed our last few hours at the resort. Finally we packed up, checked out, had lunch, turned in our rental car and made the long journey home.

One of the days maybe I'll remember to look at the lens and not the screen.

It was a totally unexpected vacation, but it was one of the best vacations my hubby and I have ever had. We missed the kids quite a bit, but it was just the break we both needed.

Friday, September 11

Not Forgotten

Eight years later it is still fresh in my mind and emotions. My heart picks up the pace and feels like it is rising in my throat every time I see the images. If it is still painful for me after all this time, what must it be like for those who actually lived through the nightmare at ground zero or who lost loved ones? I am praying for them today.

I have not forgotten that America still has enemies in this world who are plotting more evil against us. I thank God we have men and women who are fighting that battle every day. I am praying for them today as well.

Saturday, August 22

Blackberry Picking 101

1. Locate ripe berries.

2. Carefully pick blackberries.

3. Eat some blackberries.

4. Eat some more blackberries.

5. Finally accumulate enough berries to bring home.

6. Wash hands and vainly try to remove the blackberry stains.

7. Wash and dry berries.

8.  Make something yummy, in this case Blackberry Dumplings!

Bug Lover

Abigail loves bugs. She loves to watch them, play with them, and study them. Thus far she doesn't show much fear of any kind of bug, which is a blessing for me since I now have two kids to kill spiders for me!

On this particular morning, she ran outside in her jammies to investigate the creature she saw on the screen. I wasn't sure what kind of bug it was, but Daddy said it was bait a mayfly.

Saturday, August 15

Local Townhall

Our representative Congressman David Wu held a townhall in the little town right next to ours, so I thought I'd take the kids and see if I would get the opportunity to speak to him about my concerns. Not surprisingly, that didn't happen. Though we have a high school with a large gymnasium and several other venues he could have chosen that would have given many more people the ability to participate, there was only seating for 70 people inside the room where the townhall was held.

I'm still glad I went. Both kids were interested in the whole thing, and Ryan enjoyed reading all the signs and asking about what the meant. We had an impromptu civics and history lesson right there in the parking lot, and they got to see the democratic process at work. We didn't stay too long once we realized we wouldn't get in, but while we were there, it was pretty peaceful and respectful. It was frustrating to see (and hear) union employees who had their professionally made signs and who were bussed in from who knows where...but I digress.

The kids behaved very well and were patient with me as I lingered to listen to people talk and when I took the time to fill out a comment card, so afterward I surprised them and treated them to an ice cream cone at McDonald's. We ate ice cream and discussed the Constitution. I had a great time, and moments like those are what keeps me going with homeschooling, reminding me what a gift it is to be able to be there when the light bulb goes on.

Friday, August 14

Snail Mail

I got a package in the mail today. Check out the postmark on it!

I had written this off over a year ago and had completely forgotten about it. I pointed out the date to my mail carrier...she apologized.

Tuesday, August 11

Blogging Memories

Everytime I feel overwhelmed with all the tasks at hand and discouraged by the lack of time I can devote to my blog or other "me" things, I am tempted to give up blogging. But then I look back over the past years' posts (I've been at it for four years now), and I'm so glad I didn't quit. I was looking up a date for something on Abby's old blog this morning and ran across this little gem. I had completely forgotten about the event, but it was such a sweet moment and I am so happy I took the time to do a post about it.

I wish there was an easy way to turn my blogs into a book because that would be incredible! But for now, I'll just keep plodding along with my blogs and hopefully catching those special moments that will be forgotten if I don't write it out.

Monday, August 10

Have You Cried?

Chris Matthews once said, "You’re not an American if you don’t cry when you hear Obama speak." At first I was insulted because I consider myself to be very patriotic had never once felt the urge to cry upon hearing Obama, but since the inaugeration and his first 200 days in office, I've been crying just about every time President Obama opens his mouth or signs some new policy of his, so I guess I have to let that offense go.

Sunday, August 9

First Job

Some friends of ours from church live just a few doors down, and last month they asked Ryan to water their plants while they went away for the weekend. He was so excited to have his first job!

He had a great time and felt very grown up doing his job each day, and except for a few pointers I had to give him, he did a very nice job. Then he was overjoyed by their more than generous payment of $10!

Friday, August 7

A Survivor

African Violets must be a sturdy breed of plant because I can't seem to kill them, at least not in the last couple of years. I am not usually very good with houseplants, but when we moved to our new house we have a window that plants seem to like. My favorite violet is about nine years old, and when a friend gave me another one back in March, I decided I should transplant my old one into a bigger pot and put the new one in the old pot.

Much to my dismay, while I was removing the old plant, I accidentally snapped off the entire root system leaving only a small stump! I thought for sure I had killed it, but I decided to stick it in the soil and see what happened. It wilted and stayed that way for about a month, but then it slowly began to perk up a bit!

Now, just four months later, my plant is absolutely covered in blossoms! They have lasted for over a month now, and it is just beautiful. I'm surprised by how happy this little plant makes me!

Wednesday, August 5

Saturday, August 1

Darth Ryan

All last week when the weather was incredibly hot (100+), this is what my son insisted on wearing! It's not just black pants and shirt, mind you, these are sweats! Now, we have air conditioning, but there is just something wrong about wearing black sweats when it's so hot outside. (I made him change whenever we did venture outdoors, by the way.)

Monday, July 27

Cooling Off

It is currently 100 degrees, and that is very hot for our part of the country! We are mostly staying indoors, but the kids wanted to try splashing for a while to help them cool off.

I think they have long since outgrown this wading pool, but it still holds water so I can't bring myself to buy a new and bigger one yet.


We missed berry picking last summer and we missed strawberries again this year (Oregon's strawberry season is only about two weeks long!), but I was not going to miss blueberries! Blueberries are among my kids' favorite berries, and they are the easiest ones to pick by far. I was surprised how well the kids did today too. They have really gotten better in the last two years. We had no complaining about the heat and they actually picked most of the time instead of playing!

We only picked for an hour this morning and got about six pounds. We came home, washed and dried them, then flash froze them before putting them into a gallon ziplock plastic bag for later.

I think we will go back later this week or maybe next and pick some more for jam and/or a pie as well as more for the freezer. I love having them on hand in the middle of winter to scoop out and put in muffins or pancakes or whatever might be enhanced by some blueberries!

Sunday, July 26

Six-Year Checkup

We have been trying to get Abigail into the University of Washington's fetal alcohol clinic, and we were recently accepted. However, we were told the wait for the initial assesment is five months to a year. Not the news we were wanting to hear. They did recommend a neurdevelopmental clinic at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) right here in Portland though.

So I made an appointment with our pediatrician to get Abby's six-year well-child exam and to discuss some things with him. Abby loves our pediatrician, Dr. Dean Moshofsky, and is always excited to go see him. We love him too. He never makes us feel rushed, he listens, and best of all, he is a believer too. She was an excellent patient as usual and the exam when quickly. She is 92 percentile in height and 74 in weight!

Dr. Moshofsky agreed that OHSU has a great program and said he will start the referral process, which apparently is a bit onerous. We will hopefully be able to get in there sometime this fall.

Saturday, July 25

Picking Up the Prize

My husband has been voicing his desire to go to the airshow this year, but I always hate to pay the $50 that it costs for our family to get in, not to mention it's always so hot that it seems like you can fry an egg on the tarmac. So the last time he mentioned going, I told him if he could win tickets then I would be happy to go!

He took me at my word and won tickets last Thursday! He also won a DVD, Tillamook ice cream and Crater Lake Root Beer. We went to pick up the prize at the radio station on Friday, and the kids thought it was kind of neat to see the recording booths and all the controls.

As a bonus, Abby found .45 in the cushions of the chair she sat down in momentarily! She is quite the treasure finder.

Tuesday, July 21

Through Abby's Eyes

Abby gets a terrific kick out of living, so whatever we do or wherever we go she is always enthusiastic about it! She is such a joy and it's so fun to see life through her eyes (which I am working on doing more and more).

She loved the Oregon Caves and hiking the trails there. Ryan is kind of a plodder and complains along the way that he's getting tired or hungry or whatever, but Abby just goes and goes...until she hits a wall, and then she's done. She doesn't give any warning really, she just all of the sudden can't go any further and starts to cry and become almost hysterical. It's kind of comical now that we've seen it and know how to handle it better. Anyway, she did pretty well on our hike until the very end when she hit her wall, but thankfully we were almost done and seeing the van got her over the hump and stopped the meltdown.

The Great Cats tour was right up Abby's alley. She adores animals, and seeing these fantastic wild cats so close was very exciting for her. The tour was a little long, even for her, but she only mentioned once that she was tired of standing. I could tell she was dying to get right up to the cage and pet one of those big kitties! Thankfully she was able to control that impulse, and we left the compound with all fingers and hands intact!

Not all of the cages had this retaining fence to keep you away from the cage. Some just had a blue spray-painted line on the ground, and I was a little nervous about how well Abby would stay back and kept a close eye on her.

She was awed by the Redwoods and the elk and the ferns and the creek that ran beside our campsite. She made friends with the Stellers Jays and the chipmunks and couldn't keep her hands off the banana slugs!

She became attached to "Sammy" a Stellars Jay we saw at the Ladybird Johnson Grove, and every jay she saw thereafter she was sure was Sammy. At one point the jay was getting perilously close to stealing our dinner right off the grill and Daddy was chucking things at it to shoo it away. When the jay left for a time, she became almost hysterical that her "baby boy" was gone and she'd never see him again!

Meet Jimmy, the banana slug, who was about six inches long!

Abby loves her brother so much and is always telling him so, much to his chagrin. She can play by herself if she has to, but she would much rather play with Ryan. They spent lots of time having adventures in the bushes during the times we were at our campsite.

The beach, well, she loves that too! She loves tidepooling and is excellent at finding creatures the rest of us miss, she loves the feel of the sand and the water, she loves digging up sand crabs and digging trenches, she loves running through the waves and splashing about.

I think we found an excellent career path for Abigail. She would make an excellent Ranger! She loves the outdoors and learning about wildlife and plants, she isn't afraid of the bugs and slugs and animals, and she loves people and interacting with them. Watching the Rangers give their talks and lead us on hikes, I could totally see Abby doing that one day. We'll see what the Lord has in mind for her, but I am tucking away that small insight for some day in the future.

On one of our first hikes the ranger pointed out the oxalis growing prolifically on the forest floor and encouraged everyone to try tasting it. Once Abby found out it was edible, we couldn't keep her from chewing on the stuff for the rest of our time in the redwoods! Every time we turned around she had a sprig of it sticking out of her mouth.

We definitely have issues with Abby regarding her impulsivity and short attention span and other issues due to her FASD, but we are so thankful that she is part of our family. She brings a vibrancy and joy to our lives that we would sorely be missing without her!


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