Sunday, December 23, 2007

100th Post!

Philip is still working. There's no Sunday School tomorrow. I've already laid out clothes. So I'm here in Bloggerville. I've been trying to add ads...say that ten times real that if anyone needs to search or visit other sites, I might generate a little spending moo-lah. Yeah, so that took like FOREVER. But then on one of my trips back through my blogger dashboard, I noticed that I have posted 99 times. Meaning....

Happy 100th Post to ME!
and YOU!

I guess I've averaged twice a week for over a year now. Very fun.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Out in the Open

I've been itching to blog for 3 days. Philip is HOME! He wanted to surprise his mom today by just driving up in her driveway as she assumed he was still in Oklahoma. Since she's my biggest blog fan, I had to keep my homecoming celebrations on the down-low.

Merry Christmas, Becki, your boy made it home!

Philip is REALLY into surprises. This frustrates me. I am a lover of information. Surprises....not so much. I felt a spirit of allusiveness as we spoke on Wednesday night. I said, "Don't do anything stupid like just showing up in our kitchen, ok?" There was a long pause. He WAS planning a drop in. I stated in my most serious voice: "I'm a little stressed. I need to know what you know." He surrendered the truth that his truck was packed and he was headed home Thursday morning. We agreed to keep it from the kids. They were so thrilled to see him later that evening. They shrieked, and screamed, and then there was a 7 minute group hug. Very nice. I waited my turn then I kissed that guy 'cause he'd been gone too long, and it was very wonderful to have him showing up in my kitchen!

When my oldest brother went on a two-week mission trip last month, he was given wise counsel on the flight home. "Do you have your 9 dimes?" the wise guy asked. "Huh?" (Tim was confused) "I know you miss your wife, so when you get home take your 9 dimes out of your pocket and throw them into the front yard. Tell your kids as soon as they find all 10 dimes, they can come in the house...."

Well, I took 9 dimes, added a twenty dollar bill, and handed it all to James. I told him to take the suburban filled with kids to a movie. He was confused. I've never commissioned such a field trip -- especially on a school night. I raised my eye brows and gave him that goofy grin that grosses him out, and he took the kids and the money and ran. Woo-hoo! When everyone returned, we were able to spend the rest of the evening together as a family without all the goofy grinning....well, I guess there was a little goofy grinning.... I can't help it.

Philip got to hunt a little yesterday and has been called out to work twice today....poor guy. We had a great time with the J's today. I have the cutest nieces in the world!

Tomorrow there is only one worship service ALL day. I'm looking forward to taking it easy in the morning -- not having to rush off to early service and gear up for evening activities. Family Day!

Thank You, God for loving us and taking care of us. Thank You for teaching me to live with anticipation...waiting for a return. I know You're sending Your Son again. Help me live deliberately with Hope and Peace. Thank You for Jesus.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tricks and the Trade

Saturday morning at breakfast, I walked into the dining room to offer seconds. I held out the pan, and with my spatula, I polled: "Who wants another cinnamon roll?" Around the table like the wave at a Rangers game, children's hands went up one by one. My eyes tracked the response until I got around to the high chair. There was Mari. Smiling. Hand raised. And the crowd roared. (she's never even had a cinnamon roll)

We've been showing off her new trick all week. "Who wants another cinnamon roll?" is her Pavlov trigger. That fat little hand shoots high into the sky. We all just laugh. A couple times I'd swear she muttered "I do". She laughs too because she loves a good laugh.

Tonight our neighbors treated us to CiCi's (Yes, that's twice within a week -gag me) Aside from my personal, and solitary, aversion to cheap, scantily-topped pizza, we REALLY enjoyed the friendship and fun. The boys had done some jobs this afternoon that were "paying jobs" read: Mommy is lazy and loaded when it comes to filing bills and scraping dead bananas out from under the high chair cushion, so they had money to spend in the game room. We all had fun as it was thoughtfully sweet of our friends to pry us away from our lonely, Philip-less house. Anyhoo-- Cici's has cinnamon rolls..... I know...we really must stop. She's not a puppy for heaven's sake.

In other news...last night I wrapped all the kids' gifts. I kept in mind that Luke, our future CIA operative would be hand delivering each gift to the tree (No, we don't play the Santa game at our house...sue me...I just want the pretty packages under the tree and out of my closet, ok?) He would be inspecting the loot for verification of granted requests and any misrepresentation in packaging. I didn't fall off the sleigh yesterday... I hid the wrist watches in cereal boxes before wrapping. I printed the location of a large item on a piece of paper and wrapped it in a file box. I did my best. But in the end, I realized the main thing he wished for was not at all cleverly disguised. So I swapped labels! The only gift that is shaped in any way like the item of his dreams has "Ashlin" printed on the front. sneaky, sneaky.

This morning he came in and asked to transport the pile of gifts. I watched in awe as he scanned each parcel for a name....forming piles for each recipient...keeping a running total....prepared to balk at any hint of inequity. After he had subtly shaken every present, he looked at me with great disappointment.
"Is this all the presents?"
"Are we doing a treasure hunt this year?"
(he's referring to my tactic for the larger item)
With minimal truthfulness, I replied, "Oh, honey, I wasn't thinking"
His face lowered. His shoulders sank. He moped out of my room believing his dreams had been dashed. I can't wait until we open presents and I get to stop Ash as she's about to open the gift marked with a cross. I'll have her trade gifts with Luke and hopefully he'll trade his self-centered sorrow for a grateful dance. In a strange way, isn't that what Christmas is about?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Just Boring Details of the last 24 hours

Last night James and Megan and I were up late finishing up some Christmas gifts we've been working on together. The kids had been in bed for a while. Around 11:30, Ashlin emerged from her room. She leaned her head against the door frame and said, "I woked up and now my birthday is in my heart." I couldn't send her back to bed to face the dawning of her new year alone. We dug out the video of the day she was born and had a little party. On December 12, 2002, Tim surprised me by flying to Texas from Washington just in time for Ashlin's birth. My hormone enhanced super-emotional reaction was caught on tape. Very embarrassing. It was fun to see the kids...all so little, it seems. Ashli saw her daddy holding her in the hospital and started crying. "I miss my daaaaaad!" I asked her if we needed to stop watching. She said no and we dried our eyes and watched the excitement of her first Christmas. After Megan left, midnight stroked, and Ashlin needed a cupcake. James believes cupcakes go really well with nachos. My husband's gone, so I busted out crab meat and peanuts. It was a disgusting little festival...all milling around the kitchen...talking about how we all needed to be in our respective beds. Ashlin suggested that she be invited to sleep with me in honor of her birthday and to help me cope with the loneliness. I agreed.

I got her settled shortly after 1am. (Cue: Baby cry) I then spent the next couple hours with Mari. We tried my bed. We tried the recliner. I guess her teeth were bothering her. I thought she might need a dose of crab meat or cupcake, but decided on children's pain reliever instead. Around 4am I put her back in her bed and she slept until morning. I struggled and strained to get as much rest jammed into those next few hours.

Ashli's party had been postponed until Friday (Thank You Lord for ordering my steps). We got up and around then met some friends down at the visual arts center. We made pottery bowls. They will be sold at a fundraiser in the Spring and all the proceeds will go to the local food pantry. It was big fun. Kathy and Sean went with us and we all took Ash to CiCi's for lunch. After we came home, we all camped out in the living room to watch the Cosby show. I snoozed. Kathy kept all the kids quiet and even unloaded my dishwasher and sink....just 'cause she loves me so. Tomorrow we MUST do school lessons! Remind me!

Just when I was thinking, "Wednesday....we're half-way through the week...Philip will be home soon...." HE CALLED. He sounded good. He was eating and said it was a "mess". He got to talk to Ash and then told me he would be shocked if he were home before the 23rd. Do you know what day comes after the day after the 23rd? I got real sad real quick. We'll just have to see. But for now, I need to extend my mental scope and sequence for surviving single parenthood a little longer :)

Adult choir had dress rehearsal tonight for our Christmas Concert this Sunday. The kids wanted to watch a movie when we got home, so I said 'sure' and Mari and I wrestled and giggled on my bed until she was good and sleepy. I dosed her up, and laid her down. She was tuckered out....I pray she sleeps well. I let the girls sleep on the floor in the boys' room so that if Mari does need to cry she will have all the privacy she needs (wink).

I'm making a list and checking it twice for things to start/finish/mail by Friday. I plan to use datenight (sniff sniff) as Christmas shopping night for the kids. James can hang out with the kids and I can check off all my of my favorite things to do.

More later....eew....perhaps less later?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"Well Since My Baby Left Me..."

Philip was called out yesterday to go up to Tulsa to help some of the 300,000 folks who are without power. We will miss him, but he loves adventures and he is well compensated for "Ice Storm 2007". We already miss him and he only left this morning. He called tonight to say that he is in a hotel WITH power.... a couple notches up from the army tent in South Louisiana. The news said it would take several days to get power more storm in the forecast.

Ardyn was able to travel to Abby's birthday party over the weekend. Those two are mutually convinced they will be best friends forever...despite the miles. You go girls! Then tonight Ardyn had her first basketball practice. Uncle James and Ashlin escorted her to the gym so the rest of us could go shopping for Ash's B-day present. When we came to pick Ardyn up, she ran to the car and exclaimed, "It was incredible! It was so fun....It was awesome....I just need to use the word 'incredible'!" I'm so happy for her.

Ashli is planning a girlie get-together Wednesday for her birthday. She is so excited. Kathy and Sean are coming this week for a visit as well. Tonight, she was trying to get the week's schedule all straight in her head. "So I'm having my friends over for cupcakes and Sean is coming to my house too? Wow! It IS my birthday! How many minutes until my birthday?"

A friend gave Mari some squeaker shoes. I've been in a fashion cave apparently, 'cause I've never even heard of them. They gather air in the soles and then squeak like a rubber duckie with each step. She is at the perfect age to enjoy such accessories. We put them on her, and at first, she was mildly alarmed. She kept looking down at the floor, as if to ask, "Who left all these ducks on the floor....Where ARE they? I keep stepping on them!" We were all giggling. Then she realized it was in fact her own footwear. She's already established herself as quite a dancer, but today she took it to an all new level. She stomped, and skipped, and double-stepped with glee. The kids and I were cracking up! At one point, she did an Elvis thing by bending her knees and raising up on her tip-toes. Then she just bobbed up and down on both heels in rhythm. Squeak. Grin. Squeak. Grin. Squeak.

"...down at the end of 'Lonely Street'..."

Yeah, I'm "so lonely, baby, I'm just so lonely, I could cry".
James predicts I'll be a blog-o-maniac this week. I did buy a Sudoku game. I'll divide my time wisely. Who are we kidding? There are still 7 folks all up in this house...and my number one helper is state-side. We'll see.

Dear Father, please keep Philip safe and alert. Thank You for NEVER leaving! Thank you for Your good and perfect gifts!