So...my Mom has been in Florida having herself some fun with my Aunt & Uncle while we've all be suffering here in the rain & cold (Except, of course, for Saturday. Was that really the Northwest???). We get this fun little email from my Aunt telling us they're holding my Mom for ransom and won't take her to the airport tomorrow unless she gets two kisses from each of her grandchildren!! The nerve... ;)

Here I am, trying to pay the ransom for my dear mother's return and its too big for either my personal email to send it or their email to receive it!! The only thing I've got is this blog and now I have to pray this works. If not, I may never see my mother again... The thing that makes me laugh is I just did this thing on my little digital camera - its nothing fancy but apparently they sent kisses for too long and our time is short on their demands so I can't re-do it... :)

So. Enjoy the movie. I know my oldest is going to roll his eyes when he finds out just how many people might see him blowing kisses to his Grandmom Mae but that's just the way it goes.

Have a great Monday! It's one of "those" for me...quarterly taxes are due (and I do them for three companies now), Mom is on vacation, payroll has to be done, bills to be paid and I left about 75% of what I need to do today at home or elsewhere. I need prayer... and maybe a personal assistant... not sure anymore!!!!


Turning 40

A friend of mine is turning 40 on Monday and we threw a surprise party for her. It worked, up until we got her to the front door of the house where we held the party. Then, it seemed, the gig was up. She had a great time, though. There were a lot of people there and we all enjoyed chatting and meeting one another. She had mentioned she wanted a kid-themed party and a magician so we went with Veggie Tales and the magician was great. The kids really enjoyed him and.. well... so did the adults! We, of course, had to plaster "40" everywhere so there was no doubt about which birthday this was but she's a true kid at heart so it's just another number.

We've been friends for just about 1/2 of our lives and that never ceases to amaze me. There are four of us who have stayed friends going on 18 years now and through everything we stay pretty close. Our kids have grown up together and it was fun last night watching some of them together again. A couple of them hadn't seen each other in a few years so they were catching up, too. The one in the picture with Chris I've known since he was about 4. He was so little then... 'course, Chris is about 6 months older than Jason so he was little, too. Seeing how they are now grown up is amazing to me.

Turning 40 has been interesting. Not sure Barb will feel the same way but for me, it meant I am officially grown up. I hear how young I am all the time but 40 isn't 20 and things change and you realize you can't be 20 again. That's ok - it's not a bad thing - it's just an odd feeling. I look at these two young men and I realize I was only slightly older than they are now when I met Barb. Where did all of that time go? I know how blessed I am, though. God has definitely been good to me in the friends department. I don't think I'd trade any of them but most definitely not Barb, Laurie or Liz for anything.


San Francisco

What a trip! It was such a fun three days and the city is so beautiful. I traveled with one of my best friends and we had a great time. We didn't go with any specific plan, just figured we would wing it since there is so much to do and we didn't have any real "must-see" type things when we got there. We ended up doing two tours - one was the double-decker bus tour and the other was the Duck tour (those amphibious cars or whatever they call them). They were really good choices because walking around San Francisco is NOT easy (Too many BIG hills! Several of them at 23 & 27% and at least one is 32%. That's steep!!) and we managed to see a lot - and learn a lot about the city - in just a few hours. Granted, we didn't get to "explore" but that's ok. We know we want to go back, probably a few times and explore then. We chatted with several fun people, a few from New Zealand and Australia, one from Scotland, one originally from South America who has lived in San Francisco since at least '89 (same year I moved to Washington), two from Turkey, even a couple from Portland and Seattle.

The really entertaining part was knowing that on Friday, as we soaked up the much-missed sunshine, it was snowing in Seattle. Aaron sent pictures on the phone (which I shared with Northwest folks and they just shook their head in amazement, too) and measured about 8 inches of white stuff - and there was still some on the ground when I got home on Sunday night. We are just having a Winter that seems to be refusing to relinquish its position to Spring. Our tulips are popping up, roses are starting to bud and we get eight inches of snow. Go figure.

Back to San Francisco - I was reminded that I don't really enjoy flying, although Barb treated us and we flew first class. We did see a beautiful sunset on the way home, too. Its different to watch the sun set into the clouds. Barb and I talked almost non-stop through the weekend and while we caught up, I still feel like there were thousands of things left unsaid. We just don't get to spend enough time together. It feels that way with most of my friends. Everyone is always so busy and we live so far away from one another sometimes, it can be really tough to get together on a regular basis. We're talking about our annual birthday weekend and it looks like it might be our birthday weekend and girls' weekend rolled into one and I'm still not sure I can go! Its absolutely hysterical trying to coordinate schedules!

There was so much that happened over the weekend and I knew I should have journaled while I was there! Probably a dozen or more stories that I've already forgotten. I was reminded while I was there to not hesitate when you think you should do something. On Friday, after checking in at the hotel, Barb and I headed out to walk around and see what we were near and to grab a late lunch. I could only eat 1/2 of my club sandwich and Barb suggested I wrap it up and give it to someone obviously living on the street. I decided not to because who knew how long it would be before we saw someone and it had mayo & turkey on it - I would hate to poison someone with food that had sat for too long. So, I left it. We go out the back of the restaurant and wander by the Ghiradelli stuff debating on buying chocolate (believe it or not, we passed), head down a short set of stairs and who is standing at the bottom of those stairs? A homeless woman asking for food... I could feel my blood go cold as I looked at her, feeling the Holy Spirit convict me for leaving that sandwich upstairs. I had "logic-ed" myself out of blessing someone and there she stood. There was another situation in which I probably should have done/said something but decided against it and since I've been home I've been doing a lot of soul-searching. I need to come to a balance somehow - when something angers me, or I see a wrong and stay quiet, I fail. It is fear of being wrong in what I see and making a fool of myself and I'm afraid my anger will have me over-reacting (I can be a bit passionate about stuff...) so I stay quiet. (Yeah - I know - I go from a narrative on San Francisco to feelings. Go figure...) And let it eat me up from the inside out. There are parts of me that haven't made it beyond the "you are stupid, you are worthless, how do you make it through..." that I heard from one or two people while I was growing up. I always amazes me - and irritates me - how a thousand people can tell you how good you are, smart you are, worthwile you are and you still believe those one or two thoughtless & cruel people who told you otherwise... Another post, I think. :)

We also met a wonderful photographer who is originally from Philadelphia. We pass by his table (he was selling prints of his work) and there is a picture of lightening hitting a beach and I had to ask where it was. I was absolutely certain it was the Jersey shore and sure enough - (I have Barnegat Beach on Long Beach Island (in Jersey) stuck in my head but I don't think that's quite right, although Long Beach Island is) and he had a picture of Boathouse Row (in Philadelphia) at night. We must have talked to him for 1/2 hour or more. His website is a work in progress but he does interesting stuff with polaroids. Check him out - they look like watercolor paintings. His website is http://www.addariophotography.com/ and Aaron and I will be getting one of his pictures to hang over our TV. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

I'll stop talking now. San Francisco, if you haven't had the opportunity to check it out, is worth every moment. Perhaps it was just the "never been there before" thing but I don't think so. It's a city so eclectic - so full of differences - that you can't help but have a great time while you're there. I can't wait to go back!



This last weekend was a lot of fun. First, I did my annual MS Walk. This was our sixth year walking and for the first time, the weather was gorgeous. We've had some ok weather and we've had some pretty dang lousy weather and one year I seem to remember it being "nice" but Saturday was perfect. It seemed almost a shame to finish! It was fun, too, because this year Mom's birthday fell on the same day as the walk so Brenda & I conspired to "decorate" her for the day. The only thing we didn't make her keep on were the big yellow sunglasses. Otherwise, she did the whole walk with her headband, balloon, necklace & flashing "Happy Birthday" badge. She definitely attracted the attention of the event photographers so we'll see if she ends up on the MS website! It was also my oldest niece's first year walking with us. She is just so neat to talk to and listen to, its fun to watch her grow up. She's smart and interesting and funny. She has been blessed with our family zinger capability, that's for sure.

At home on Saturday, my boys worked hard on our back yard. My flower bed is looking like a flower bed again!!! I get to go shopping soon for plants to fill the planters both out back and out front and I'll probably plant some color along the back fence, too. I am so excited to have a yard to fill with flowers this year!! I know the previous owners planted a lot but I'm going to add to it.

Yesterday meant our youngest's first baseball game. I took about 50 pictures! Even he commented that I took a lot of pictures and I told him - he will never again have a "first" baseball game. He's a pretty talented little player, too, considering he has never played the game before. The coach had him play pitcher the first inning and his team had managed to get two players out at the bases when one of the boys hit a ground ball right to Christopher. He scooped that ball up like he was a pro, turned and threw it right to first base, the first baseman caught it and that was out #3!! Then, he was able to get an at-bat in all three innings (Its fun the way they have these little kid little league games set up!) and hit a single each time. He did have to use the T in the second inning, we think his nerves took over a bit but in innings one and three, he hit a strong, solid ground ball right by the second baseman and into center field. His goal now is to play professional ball when he grows up. Imagine that... :)

The weather, though, wasn't anywhere near as nice on Sunday as it was on Saturday! I think the temperature plummeted about 30 degrees between the two days and I ended up with some numb fingers with all of my picture-taking yesterday. The rain, though, was kind enough to hold off until our game was over but it has definitely moved in to soak us for a little while. Someone mentioned its supposed to clear up again later today. I'll believe THAT when I see it!!


Septic Systems and Lessons in Patience

We were in church last Sunday and our pastor was talking about being content and happy with what we have, stop trying to compare it to what we see - and think - others have. Its not a new concept, its a completely biblical concept, its just often easier to hear in theory than to practice for real. Our septic system has failed and there is a long, involved story to it so I'm not going to go into that here but it is just about the scariest thing I have ever experienced and I've been in/through some scary places/times in my life. Trying to stay "content" as we go through this is a constant challenge. I know God doesn't do anything out of order, what happens to us He allows for His reasons, I know this isn't at all bigger than He is and I know this didn't come as a surprise to Him but I still let myself feel anxious on occasion and even spent a day in tears I couldn't stop (well - the septic was a big part of that but not all of it). Anyhow, I can tell myself a thousand times God has it under control but I slip up with that whole human-ness thing and just can't imagine how this will all work out "to the good" or "for the good" in the end.

So...I'm working on contentment and praying about it a lot. I think of the man in Mark who cried out to Jesus "I believe, Lord help my unbelief" and I wonder just how much faith God intends to grow in me - in my husband and kids, too, through this situation (I jokingly say I'm good on faith for now...can you fix it, please God... today? He hasn't so far so I guess I'm supposed to keep on growing for now...).

Right now, I have mentally thrown myself into His arms although I haven't completely "allowed" Him to carry me yet. I feel like I have to "help" Him with that and it isn't that I think He needs me to do any carrying, I just don't think its fair to heap it all on Him. It can be a tough thing to think through - how much is me doing what I need to do and how much is me holding back from Him? Those answers come, I know, with prayer. Pray, pray and pray. Sometimes, though the silence can be deafening and that is where patience comes in, waiting on Him for His answer and patience is not my strong suit. Never has been. Angry - angry I can do. Patient - patient is a lot tougher. So - one more time, I thank Him that I even have a house to worry about, a family to live under its roof, a job to help pay for it, friends to entertain in it and a God who knows exactly what I need when I need it and it will show up at just the right moment.



Yesterday, Aaron & I had a rare day together where we didn't have to do anything but what we wanted. Christopher is on spring break this week and the only downside is Chris is in Kingston training so he didn't get to join us. He probably wouldn't have, at least not for the Art Museum but then again, who knows. He likes to surprise me a lot and does things I wouldn't expect.

We checked out the Roman Exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum. We went through that exhibit and then saw the Gates of Paradise by Ghiberti. He spent 27 years working on those doors and they were amazing. The Seattle Art Museum has three panels on exhibit plus a full "picture" of the doors when they are completed. The history, the work that went into creating the panels and all that they contain has no other description beyond amazing.

Christopher wandered through the Roman exhibit for about three hours and did so much better than me in the boredom department. I got to the point where I started hurrying myself through the exhibit because as beautiful as everything is, its still room after room after room of white marble or granite carvings and there is only so much of that a person can look at before it becomes redundant (at least if you're me it does!). The history of it all was incredibly interesting and I spent a lot of time reading the descriptions attached to each piece and the information they had explaining the Roman culture.

After the Art Museum (3 1/2 hours on our feet! Worth every minute!!), we headed up to Christopher baseball practice and that was fun to sit through. I didn't think I'd get to any of them, just the games, because they run 4:30 to 5:30 and I'm still at work so it was a treat. Then, we headed over to the local toy store for Christopher and picked up a copy of Disney's Enchanted. If you haven't seen it, see it. It was so much fun to watch.

All in all, a REALLY good day. The pictures I've posted are from the Gates of Paradise, it is the Creation Panel and a picture of Lucilla, one of the Queens (done approximately 2 A.D.) of the Roman Empire. Enjoy!


Snow in March

Nothing like getting to spring to have a few inches of snow to remind you that things don't always go as you think they should. It was amazing. Beautiful, too - the perfect kind of snow. It didn't start sticking to the roads until we were all home, safe & sound. Perfect! It fell on the weekend, too, so no worries about not getting to or being late to work. Perfect!

Other than the snow, nothing too exciting happened last weekend. It was busy but almost a relaxing kind of busy. We spent Sunday at my grandmother's house doing our laundry so we took some movies and just relaxed over there. Its a bit odd - Mom took out the couch so there are just a couple of chairs and no place to stretch out but that was probably a good thing. We would have napped and been there longer! We were there for about 6 hours as it was. We did two loads for big Chris, too because he was trying to get stuff together to head over to Kingston for training for two weeks. My apprentice son has his first 1000 hours in as a Laborer and is off for two weeks bumping himself up a level. He is doing so well and I am so incredibly proud of him!

Monday was a bit hectic at work. There is a form my office has to fill out every year and its due on March 31st. We have to wait for our CPA auditor to put it together and then sign it electronically by two company officers. Shouldn't be a big deal but somehow it always becomes a bit of a circus. Took me half the day to get this thing signed and uploaded and I had to run home to upload it (their server didn't like our server). The dog enjoyed it, at least! Instead of his normal seeing me once for lunch, he ended up seeing me twice. Its fun having a dog - he is always SO happy to see us.

Tomorrow is a day off for me. Aaron usually has Wednesday off and this week is Christopher's spring break so we're off to the Art Museum (Christopher's choice). It should be a fun day. I'll try to share a picture or two from it. I love having a day to just play. We used to have Sundays but these days, they're usually spent hanging out somewhere doing laundry! Not exactly our idea of a "good time." So, I'm going to use a bit of my vacation through the next few months and take an occasional Wednesday off and spend some time with my husband that will involve some yard work but hopefully some fun stuff, too. We'll have to see how that goes. :)