Monthly Archives: July 2007

This summer has been a whirlwind.  I think we both decided we like our summers to be full of as much travel as the kids can handle…and that helps us stay put during the year.  Although, we’re never ones to stay put.  We just got back from Mississip Sat. at 2 am and are debating about whether or not we can make it to a wedding in Lancaster, PA next Sat.  Our boys have done surprisingly well with the transition back home (well, you know, they are 3 and 4…)  So, we’ll see what the rest of the week holds.  As far as the last 2 wks., there are so many snippets to share.  But with piles of things needing attention and checkbooks that haven’t been balanced in too long…there’s only time for a few. 

I was so encouraged to see the Lord move in the hearts and stir the thoughts of our teens (and myself) this week.  One of the most freeing things He showed me was how much He loves me.  I don’t know why I hold on so tightly to the idea that I have to do something great to please Him, and when I try, I never quite get it right.  But this week, one of the speakers shared how nothing we do is without sin.  We are sinful people.  And yet, look at Hebrews 11, and everyone listed there is recognized for their faith.  It’s not the sin of Rahab, Samson, etc. that’s focused on, but their faith!  And it’s been so refreshing to focus on the love I have for God and my desire to worship Him…rather than my imperfections at serving Him.  Like if He wanted me perfect, He would have made me that way!

We had a day between the 1st week of Hurricane Relief Work and the 2nd week of Conference, so we took off for New Orleans.  I was so excited to see N.O., but it wasn’t far into the drive that I lost my giddiness.  We drove down to the Gulf, and then drove the road along the Gulf, and for 1 1/2 hrs., we saw constant destruction.  It’s been 2 yrs. since Katrina, and I didn’t expect to see so much beach front property demolished and abandoned.  It was very eerie.  A Six Flags Theme Park destroyed, still standing, but shut down.  A Wal-Mart shopping plaza blown out with weeds overgrowing the parking lot.  Bridges, Piers, Houses, Restaurants, Malls ruined.  The French Quarter section of N.O. was rebuilt and running, so we got some good ole Cajun food, but it wasn’t like I thought it would be.  I just felt sad for the people who lost so much.  And yet, what a small scale this was compared to the tsunami…

The 1st week that the teens were there, they totally rebuilt a lady named Doris’ house.  The Hurricane took her roof off, and then it poured rain for 24 hours into her house.  There were piles of moldy junk in her house that needed thrown out.  They gutted the walls and hung dry wall, took out all the appliances, etc.  We got to go back a few times the 2nd week and paint, lay new flooring, mud the bathroom, hang cabinets, landscape, and put in new appliances.  It was so cool to work among teens who were cheerful, eager to help, without complaint about the hardwork we were doing.  We really enjoyed our time with them.

And of course, on the way home we stopped at Unclaimed Baggage Center.  Many of us got really good deals.  I got a way cool Anne Klein watch for $10.  Andy got a Kenneth Cole jacket for $8.  But it was also a little sad.  Thankfully, all our lost bags have been found.  But there were tons of cameras, iPods, books, wedding dresses, jewelry, DVD players…that were for sale in a Goodwill-like store as if people willingly donated them.  I feel like never checking in a bag ever again. 

That’s really all I have time for.  Andy picked up our mail that was on hold, so here’s now yet another pile of something to do.  Edit:  Found our camera.  Here’s some pics.  We didn’t take ourgood camera, so for some reason, I didn’t pay too much attention to get artistic shots.  Andy did a good job in New Orleans, but most of them are me snapping out the window on the drive.  I wish we’d had more time.  There are so many shots still only in my mind that told quite a tragic story.  We also have some pics up on our fan 16 site.
It was a beautiful sight to see trees standing amidst the barren rubble.  I thought what a cool visual it was of the verse “He shall be like a tree firmly planted…”  God’s creation is amazing to withstand what demolished tons of concrete and metal. 
This is all beach front property.  I thought it was bulldozed, but many of the sites were completely swept away from the storm.
Again, we were driving, so you can’t see this too well.  But I’ll bet it was a beautiful, luxurious spot.  It had a gate and a place where a pool once was.  Now there’s nothing.
And here’s some of New Orleans.
The restaurant we ate lunch at.  We ordered crazy appetizers to share: duck puffs, grilled alligator, crab claws, etc.  The gator was actually delicious.  And the duck puffs were too–they were like a creamy egg roll.  I got some cajun jambalaya and gumbo.  It was SOOO good.  And we ate on the famous Bourbon St. (from the Bourbon St. Steak at Applebees)  That was fun.


birthday surprises…


We all had a surprise this a.m.  Our teens bought Andy a canoe for his birthday!!!  I can’t even believe it!!!  Just last Sunday some found out how badly Andy has wanted a canoe.  They asked when his b-day was because they wanted to get him a canoe, and I though no way they can get it in 1 week.  I’ve been looking for mos. because I wanted to get him one for his b-day, but it’s all about timing with getting a used canoe–when we’ve seen them for a good deal, we haven’t had the money, vice versa.  Anyhow, they must’ve spent hours working on this and just this a.m. when a group was leaving for MS, they took us outside to show him a canoe with his name on it.  Guess what we’ll be doing on his birthday!  This is special not only because we’ve wanted one for so long, but because some teens took so much time and effort to do something so meaningful for Andy. 

It’s also special because here’s a pic of our engagement…
Wish I had more time to write.  We just sent off a work-team today for Hurricane Cleanup in MS.  (Andy and I will leave with some more teens next Fri.)  Miles and Jack wanted so bad to go to Mississippi.  They kept climbing in the vans and asking to go…Yesterday when we said goodbye to the Eglis and Gibsons, they were wanting to move to Philadelphia.  I guess we’ve been home 3 weeks in a row–they’re getting antsy.  Well, we leave for Ohio Tues., so that’ll help their roadtrip itch. 
Here’s my b-day boy!  Miles bought Andy peanut M&Ms and Jack bought him a smiley-face balloon for his b-day.
And I know I’m a little late on sleeping pics, but I just walked in to check on Jack, and this is what I found.  What a funny kid.  This is so his personality–legs crossed, “ahhh, this is the life” look with hands behind his head and a book hidden under his blanket.

may the cutest kid win…

We just entered Jack in a photo competition.  It was so hard to land on
1 pic, but after getting several random strangers’ opinions, here’s the
one that could win us $200.
If you have a minute, you can go to
We are #78. 
All proceeds go to Kosc. County Right to Life, so here goes our 1st ever solocit your child for money operation ๐Ÿ™‚ 

And besides that, I have 4 more days until Andy turns 30…so, I’ve been working like a mad-woman to get his surprise done.  That’s so funny you all said he looks like Jack–everyone who knew Andy when he was little and then meets Jack says the same thing.  Their looks and temperment are so similar.  Just the other day, Jack was jumping off the couch, and Andy’s mom said “That’s exactly how your father broke his arm.”  Great… 

In Miles’ world, everyday I have more and more pride and joy for him.  I don’t know all the struggles he has to order his world, but the fact that he functions at all…let alone, captures people’s hearts astounds me.  We’ve been enjoying Center Lake beach–I never knew what a clean lake and sand they had…very nice.  But we were there the other day and we go to the section that’s not lifeguarded because there’s usually not other kids so there’s better chance Miles won’t get splashed and have a meltdown…WELL, there were 4 other kids who joined us, and they started picking on the youngest girl, splashing her, until she got upset and sat down.  Miles turns to me and says “Momma, you want to go see what’s the matter with the girl?”  “No, I think she’ll be ok.”  Next thing I know, Miles got out of the water, walks up to her and says “Little girl, what’s the matter?”  She doesn’t say anything, so he turns around and says with a big smile “She can’t hear me.”  I laughed so hard.  He was standing right up in her face and of course she heard, but it was all sooo sweet.  I still get a huge smile and tears thinking of it. 

Oh, I don’t want to forget all the things they’re saying, but it’s time to sign off, so one more quick one…
The boys were introducing themselves at the park the other day.  Miles: “Hi, I’m Buzz Lightyear.”  Jack: “And I’m Woody….(pointing to me) and this is my big ole momma.” 
So, goodnight…from the big ole momma ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m sooooo tired.  I’m tempted to go to bed, but I’m trying sneak in as much time on Andy’s b-day surprise as possible while he’s gone…so I’ll probably drink some more tea.
Love love love this stuff.  I’m not much into advertizing gimmicks, but it really works and gives me a “pick me up.”  It’s good hot or iced, and at $10 for 36 bags, it’s cheaper than iced mochas.  It’s been a fun-filled week (why I’m tired), well, and I’ve given up on giving my kids naps.  For 1, I was tired of fighting Jack to sleep 2 times a day and for 2, when he would nap he’d stay up until 10–I like checking out as a mom at 8.  It’s hard to hang in there for those few extra hours when I need to recharge for the next day…So, no naps anymore.  The first day of deciding to forego the nap, I took them to the park to keep them awake.  There was barely anyone there during the nap hours, except for some 3 and 4 yr. olds sharing a Mt. Dew.  I chuckled.

Yesterday was a very nice 4th of July.  Our kids slept in until 9 am!!!  (Which was nice since we were up with  friends until 1 am ๐Ÿ™‚  And we went to the zoo.  Even though we have a zoo pass, I’ve never been a huge fan.  It always seems like it’s filled with cranky kids and frustrated parents and animals whose cages are too small…but yesterday, was a very very fun time.  We all enjoyed ourselves. 

Seems like I’m working backwards here, but a few days ago, I enlisted our kids in “Discipline Bootcamp.”  Following a 2 wk. vacation and 1 wk. of illness, they were out of control.  Sun. lunch, Andy and I were blankly staring at each other like “When did we relinquish control of our own home?”  So…Mon. was hard core bootcamp.  It was madness.  They woke up and went to bed screaming.  Tues. they started weakening.  (Although we did wake up to Jack crying because Miles was spanking him.)  Wed. and today have been enjoyable.  I was in for a long haul…but I think they just needed to test the boundaries and realize yes, there’s still consequences.  (I did get too laxed when they were sick and running such a high fever)  Discipline is not fun–I have to really push buttons to stay consistent, but it was good this week to see it pay off.

Andy bought me this Saturday.  We sold mine a few months ago at our garage sale, and I was thankful because it was so heavy to pull our 100 lbs. of kids in a trailer, but with this it feels like nothing!  Now all I want to do is ride around on it.  It’s soooo comfortable! 
Sat. we’re going to Chicago to pick up Andy’s mom.  We were telling our kids about it, and Miles said “Chicago?  To get a donut?”  His memory is astounding.  In March, (on my Mar. 9th post) we were looking at cars for Andy’s parents and went to Chicago to look at one, but it was no good, so we went to Krispy Kreme and came home.  And Miles remembered! 

This all seems so disjointed.  I may just go to bed afterall…but the last funny thing I have to say is I’ve been trying to think about more than household stay-at-home mom things, and since we have Time and Newsweek lying around, I’ve been reading them and am addicted.  Not so much to the headlines as the quirky little articles they have.  I read one about where all our lost luggage goes.  It’s so fascinating, but there’s a store in Alabama found here and they buy lost luggage that’s sat for 90 days unclaimed and sell the articles inside.  It’s crazy what they’ve found inside these bags, and their store is huge (a block).  But they say people carry their best clothes and perfumes, etc. with them so everything’s practically new, and they have a ton of digital cameras, strollers, jewelry, etc.  SO, we’re taking the teens to Mississippi in a few weeks and we’re going to take a little detour and stop there.  It is kinda sad when I think about it.  But I don’t think I’ll have a problem buying a double jogging stroller for $40.  Is that bad?  It said airlines reimburse people up to $2500 for lost bags, but they’ve found lots of wedding dresses and diamond rings, and that makes me sad.  I won’t buy those ๐Ÿ™‚

Off to do some secret work… It does involve old pics like this.  I wish I knew him when we were kids.  I’m just glad to be best friends now ๐Ÿ™‚