Nov 23, 2008

New Favorite Things

Listening to a book on cd/mp3 while driving. I'm not sure why I haven't listened to a book on cd prior to yesterday, but now that I've tried it, I'm hooked.
I listened to the book A Thousand Splendid Suns nearly every minute of the 10 hour drive yesterday. I stopped listening for our meal stops, while getting gas, and when people called to check on how the drive was going.
I woke up this morning almost excited to get back on the road and to finish my book. 3 more cds and about 3 more hours of listening intently.
The drive went by so fast as I mindlessly drove and listened to the story unfold. The only downside was I was listening with earbuds and no matter how nice the earbuds are, after 10 hours, it still hurts.

Nov 21, 2008

Busy Days

It is the end of November. Where did this month go? I can't believe that Thanksgiving is next week, Christmas right around the corner, and then before I know it I'll be ringing in 2009.
I've been busy this past week getting ready for our big trip to Alabama. There was so much to be done, not just for the trip but also for the return. Mika and Madison will be joining us on the return trip and staying for the month of December and Christmas festivities are already lining up beginning with a party here on the 7th.
Our Alabama Thanksgiving will most likely be spent at Cracker Barrel this year. Our choices in Po Folks, Cracker Barrel, Golden Corral and the chow hall. Have you been to Po Folks or Golden Corral?
So, I'm heading off in the morning for a 14 hour drive. I'll actually be breaking it up by heading to Atlanta for the first 10 hours and finishing off the trip Sunday morning. I am completely dreading the drive. The boys are great, they entertain themselves with a backpack of toys, intermittent movies, and just watching as the world goes by. However, I am not easily amused by listening to the movie, spelling random words for the boys, or trying not to say anything mean as Eli "sings" at the top of his lungs his own rendition of Yellow Submarine. I entertain myself by calculating how long it will take me to get to the next stop - at least 4 times an hour, I talk on the phone when there is reception, and I create little stories in my head, and practice my German as long as the boys will tolerate it.
This trip I am going to try and listen to a book on my ipod. I have spent much of the night tonight trying to get the "book" on my ipod. I'm really hoping that I get the whole book on there. How much will it stink if suddenly one chapter, or even a page goes missing and I get confused? It could go either way. I could totally get into it and time will fly by. I may not even want to get out of the car because I'm so engaged in the novel. Or, I could fall asleep like I do when I try and read in bed and then . . . . .
Matt keeps asking if I am excited to come down there. As my to-do list is now quite short, and all that is left to do is get some sleep and head out in the morning, I am actually looking forward to a week away, even if it is to Alabama.

Nov 13, 2008

Discussions with Gabriel

This conversation took place this morning as I was tying Gabriel's shoes.

Gabe: John McCain, John MaaaaaacCain, John . . . Oh! Brockobama won?
Me: Yes. Barack Obama won. He will be our new President in January.
Gabe: Brockobama will be the President?
Me: Yes.
Gabe: Not Curious George?
Me: No, not Curious George.

Maybe it is the rain, my weird sense of humor, or just the mood I am in, but every time I replay this little discussion in my head I laugh out loud!

Nov 11, 2008

Long weekend.

Matt was home this weekend for a quick visit. We had to take care of some errands (buying Matt a new cell phone since he lost his), did normal life stuff, and shared some special times too. We finally had my birthday cake and I opened gifts (that didn't come from the boys' bedroom), Matt and I had a date night, Matt and the boys enjoyed "movie night", and we shared some special time with friends at our house on Monday night.
Our date night started off rough. Matt was trying to do more things than time would allow and we got a late start, then the late start turned even later as we made our way into DC, found parking, and tried to find a restaurant to enjoy a nice dinner together. We didn't have enough time to wait for a table at any of the restaurants and ended up grabbing merely adequate food at a deli. We crossed the street to the Verizon Center, bad eating drama behind us, and enjoyed a very exciting Capitals game (hockey). I loved the game. This was only the second time that Matt and I have gone to a hockey game and we had so much fun. Leaving the arena we decided we were untapped hockey fans. Our inner-fan hasn't had many opportunities to come out. Hopefully, that will change a little in the future. If you haven't gone to an NHL game. GO! It is a good time.
Although the boys and I will be in Alabama in just two weeks, it still felt a little empty when Matt left. After dropping Matt off at the airport Eli suggested we "just walk around this town a little". It was a chilly fall day, but really beautiful, so we headed to Old Town Alexandria for a stroll. We crunched through leaves, watched street musicians, and enjoyed playing at a quirky toy store.
Tomorrow we return to life.

Picture worth a thousand words.

This past spring my Grandpa left the comfort of his home and the companionship of his wife to move into an assisted living facility. Although it broke his heart to leave my grandma, he knew that she physically could not take care of him any longer. He has settled in reasonably well at the home and is accepting this life he now lives.
My grandma still hopes and prays that one day grandpa will come home, but in the meantime she visits him every other day, fusses over what he eats, and keeps all the doctors in check.
Every once in a while, when grandpa is strong enough he gets to take a field trip to my parents house. Today, was one of the those good days. He spent some time over at my parents house surrounded by family and good food with real flavor. This is such a beautiful picture of my grandparents together. I missed the special day, but I'll treasure this photo until I get to see them again.

Nov 5, 2008

Happy Birthday to me!

This past Saturday I celebrated my 32nd birthday. My day started off a little rough, I woke up to the boys fighting. After leisurely getting dressed and ready, the boys and I headed off to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. If you have never had Cracker Barrel pancakes you are seriously missing out. They are so good. It is a southern style breakfast joint, and it is possible the pancakes are so tasty because they are fried in pure fat. The edges are the best part because they are really crispy and taste a lot like those deep fried elephant ears you get at the fair. Mmm.
So, after our breakfast treat I took the boys to Color Me Mine, a paint your own pottery shop in Manassas. It was a last minute decision. Up until the morning of my birthday the boys were insisting that we go to Chuck E Cheese to celebrate. Just before leaving for breakfast I thought of the pottery idea and was excited and nervous to spent some time painting with the boys. Although Gabe was bored and tired with the painting after 45 minutes or so, he did a great job on his artwork and being good while Eli and I continued painting.
After the adventures in painting, we returned home and the boys brought me out a bounty of gifts. They went "shopping" in their rooms and then wrapped up the gifts for me. I'll post pictures later. It was so cute. So, I opened an mp3 player, Moe - the webkin chicken, a stuffed animal frog and a love note from Eli, and a book, stuffed animal monkey, and something else from Gabe.
We rested, and recovered from the busy morning and then I took the boys over to our friend Ryan's house later that night. Ryan agreed to babysit the boys for me while his wife Rachael and I, along with another friend Samantha went out for a night on the town. We ate dinner and walked around Georgetown. I truly enjoyed the entire night. It was great to be in the company of some wonderful friends and to just enjoy being together in a beautiful city.
Their gift to me was this night. When I arrived home at 1am (whew that is late for me) I thought to myself what a great gift the evening was. Any material thing will eventually fade away, but the memories of this night will stay with for many years.
It was a good birthday.

"Don't stress about your s"!

Thanks for the help with newsletter names. In the end, I opted for The Source: A tool for small group leaders. However, I made a minor error when I sent out my first issue tonight and the headline actually reads The Source: A tool for small group leader. What a way to make a first impression.
I think 50% of my subscribers (subscribers is a loose term - I force this upon them) will probably not notice the error. 25% will notice and think it sounds weird. 10% won't even open the email. And only 15% will notice, and take the time to point out my error.
I was really upset over missing such an important detail. As I was talking, or whining, to a friend of mine about it, she so eloquently said "don't stress about your s". She is right. Not only in the case of my newsletter, but I think this should be my motto for life.
The missing s is one small part gone wrong, in the sea a letters, thoughts, and handy links that went right in the newsletter. How many times have I stressed about the s? Probably a 100 times a day, I am so focused on the things I don't fit into my day that I don't see all of the things that I did.
Today I got both boys to school on time after feeding them a good breakfast and packing up their lunch. I ran a few miles at the gym and lifted weights. I talked to my sister about the book I'm currently reading. I played board games with Gabe for an entire hour without interruption. I helped Eli learn his bible verse for the day and remembered to change the batteries in Gabe's vacuum. I sent out a newsletter that will hopefully be a valuable resource to about 100 leaders in our church. And . . . I left out an s.
I can live with that.