Feb 28, 2009

Appetizers and Bloody Noses

Tonight, on the way home from church (we go to the Saturday evening service because we love to sleep in on Sunday) Gabriel had a few questions about what he saw during the service.
G: Mom were you appetized?
C: Yes Gabriel, I have been BAPTIZED, but not tonight.

G: Why did everyone have bloody noses when they were in the pool getting dunck-ed?
C: They didn't have bloody noses, they were just holding their noses so that water wouldn't get in their nose when they came back up.

I was laughing and Matt looked over at me and said "that has 'blog' written all over it"!

Feb 24, 2009

Joe

My mailman, Joe, is the coolest mailman ever. Sorry Dad, I'm sure you were cool too, but I don't have any data to back that up.
Joe is a neighbor -who just happens to not live in the neighborhood. I see him almost everyday as he is out for delivery and he always greets me with a smile and a wave. He is an older guy, probably near retirement, but the many years on the job, the freezing cold weather, or monotony of delivering coupons on Mondays doesn't seem to get him down.
We have one of those mailboxes, where all the houses on the street receive mail in one location. Each house has its own locked box and there is a special box for packages. Joe never uses that special box, he brings me my packages no matter how big or small. It isn't a huge deal, but I know it takes much more time for him to bring me my package than just dropping it in the big box. And, Joe doesn't doorbell ditch. When Joe brings me my packages, he rings the doorbell and waits for me to answer. Unlike the UPS guy that practically tosses a box on the porch from the door of his big brown truck. I like this about Joe.
Joe was super cool this Christmas. We had two packages that were shipped "parcel post" or more accurately not shipped because they were parcel post. These little guys sat somewhere for weeks waiting for all the priority boxes to be delivered. Two days after Christmas, at 10 in the morning the doorbell rang and it was Joe. He saw our delight that the "missing" packages finally made it. He explained that when he arrived that morning and saw that these packages had been on the slow boat from California to Virginia for a few weeks, he made sure to stop at our house first before he continued with his regular delivery. I know this is true, because I normally don't see Joe until around 2:30.
He also noted the amount of mail being sent to our address under the name "Mlack" (our friends that were staying with us during December) and he added their name to our mailbox, to ensure even when he wasn't working, their mail would be properly delivered.
Today, Joe kicked it up a notch. He attempted to deliver an express mail package this morning while I was gone. Since I wasn't here and the package required a signature, he filled out the official form advising me that the package would be available for pick up at the post office tomorrow. He also left an unofficial note telling me that he would try and stop by later to deliver it. I guess he tried two other times, with success tonight on his third attempt at 4:30 - probably on his way out of the neighborhood. He told me that if I didn't answer the door this time he was going to call me and see if someone else could sign and receive the package in my place. That is service!
Joe gets Christmas cards and gifts from us each year, but he is in for an extra special bonus when we move! I want to make sure Joe knows that I notice he cheery disposition and his commitment to going above and beyond.

Feb 19, 2009

Reading the Word.

I mentioned in a previous post that in January Matt and I started reading a chapter of the Bible a night. Occasionally, we skip a day and read two chapters the next day, but for the most part we have been able to stick with it. Two months down, two books of the Bible read.
Tonight, I was talking to my Grandma and I told her that Matt and I read Acts and Romans and were starting to read 1 Corinthians.
She said "that is great!"
Then she said "I read Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians, Exodus, Leviticus, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, Revelation and I'm just working on reading Revelation through again. . . . "
she paused a moment and then went on to say
"since the beginning of the year".
Ouch.

Feb 14, 2009

$26.10

Last year my mother-in-law sent me a card with some cash in it. I pulled out the greenbacks to find a $10, $5 and three $1 bills. Clearly mom snatched some cash off the counter or emptied her wallet and stuffed it in the card at the last minute. I laughed so hard. It wouldn't have been funny if she threw in a $20 or a $10 and quite frankly it woudn't have meant nearly as much. Something about her giving me all that she had at that moment made the random cash meaningful. What did I do with the money? I did what I do very well, I went shopping and found a shirt for $17 - perfect.
Today, Matt and I opened our Valentine's card from his mom. You guessed it, tucked inside was $26.10. A $20, $5, $1 coin, a nickel and five pennies. After church tonight Matt, the boys, and I headed out for a Valentine's Day dinner compliments of Matt's mom.
Where can a family of four eat for $26.10? We went to one of our favorite spots Baja Fresh! We ordered two burritos, a quesadilla for the boys to share, an order of chips and salsa, two cokes and two waters for $23.94. Happy Valentine's Day!

Feb 12, 2009

Trash or Treasure

Have you ever seen someone scavenging through trash the night before garbage pick up? Who does that?
Me. I did that. And I'm both embarrassed and proud of myself for doing it. As I was backing out of the garage this morning I remembered today was trash day. I pulled our can and recycling out to their designated spots and just as I was turning to go back into the garage something caught my eye. The neighbor put a small table and two wicker chairs out with their trash can.
I stood frozen for a few moments. Do I peek at the chairs or do I get in the car and take the boys to school? What if they are in perfect shape? You can't just throw out perfectly good chairs.
My mind raced. What if a neighbor saw me looking through another neighbor's trash? The shame.
After wasted moments if indecision I raced over grabbed the chairs and swooped them into the garage. They were in fabulous condition. They didn't have any cushions, but otherwise were in great shape. I tucked them away in the garage and got in the car.
Eli asked "Why are you taking their chairs?" Darn, caught by my 6 year old.
I replied "the neighbor was going to throw them away, but I am going to recycle them.
(The kids understand that recycling is good, so they easily bought into my explanation of stealing trash from the neighbor.)
I'm so excited about my "find". My friend Laura recently completed a few "trash into treasure" projects and posted the "before" and "after" photos on her blog. I was inspired by her creativity and hope to make-over my little treasures too. (Check out her "Extreme Makeover Florida Room" and "again with the furniture" posts for your own inspiration.) Her stuff was not actually trash, which makes her a bargain hunter and me a dumpster diver, but that is just a minor detail.

Feb 11, 2009

No Running on the Nature Preserve

The weather in the DC area has been gorgeous these past few days. We wanted to take advantage of the unseasonably warm temperatures yesterday so we took the kids for a run/ride. Matt and I ran, Eli rode his bike, and I pushed Gabriel in the jogger.
We started off in the direction of a nature preserve that is about a mile down the road. About 100 feet past the entrance we got "pulled over" by a park ranger for running on the preserve. I should note, we were not trampling little creatures or plant life, we were running on a paved road.
Why is it perfectly acceptable for people to drive on the nature preserve but not run? Isn't it more natural to run. If we are preserving nature, shouldn't we be concerned about the noise and pollution created by cars? Running produces the pitter patter of tennis shoes on the pavement and a few drops of sweat but nothing those little butterflies and snakes are concerned with.
So, for future reference you can drive down the road to the parking lot and then go for a walk in designated areas, but it is completely unacceptable to jog on the road to the parking lot to go for a walk. Also, no fishing.

Feb 5, 2009

Dad is a side of Ranch

My dad is like ranch dressing.
Carrots, broccoli, dry roast, plain baked potato . . . . these are all things that I don't particularly like to ingest, but, coat them in ranch and it all goes down easier.
As it turns out, you can throw ranch on just about anything. Matt has been known to wash my lasagna down with some ranch, chicken nuggets, french fries, and pizza crust have all found their way into a cup of ranch dressing too. What is it about the ranch?
Like ranch dressing, my dad makes difficult situations more tolerable and uneventful things entertaining. If I am stressed, frustrated, confused or just need talk something through, I can call my dad and by the time we hang up, everything seems at least a little better.
Dad is my side of ranch, I hope you have a side of ranch you can call up too.