Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Misphah and Shen. He named it Ebenezar, saying , "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Post About Tuesday, Relaxing and My J-O-B

My favorite day.
It means hanging out by the pool and taking Justin to a friends for a 1/2 kid free afternoon, well that is unless I have to work, which for the record I have to work every Tuesday.

Well, I don't have to, but I chose to, work that is. Love that about my job- the making my own schedule; unless my schedule makes me. Like this last weekend- crazy I worked all weekend.
It was worth it!
I just finished putting on a dinner for 150 of our Stockholders. By Stockholders I mean the 150 people that purchased $100 in stock in a student who either went to Waveland, Mississippi or Detroit, Michigan.

When our students get ready to raise their funds for their mission trips one option is to sell stock in themselves. This year my oldest chose to work for all his money, while my youngest chose to sell stock. He had 3 of his 4 stockholders there and he did an awesome job.

Here's how it went down:
Students greeted stockholders as they arrived and seated them in their seats at their respected table. It was raining so we had kids hustling around to and from the parking lot with umbrellas. Once the dinner started Kev, my "boss"- although I do a better job bossing, I think, anyway, Kev started with a welcome and asking the students a question about their experience on the trip. "Tell about a typical day" "Where did you see God" "What was most challenging for you".....

Once the question was answered, the student came back to the kitchen serving counter and loaded his/her tray with the right amount of appetizers for his/her table. This year we had a Cajun Soul-Food Menu and boy was it good.
Did I mention I had nothing to do with the cooking so it was all homemade, yum.
The student then bussed their own table and kept up with everyone's drinks.

This format of question and eat went on through the soup: gumbo, dinner: smothered pork with mushrooms, onions, collard greens (the best I'd ever had), black-eyed peas and hoe cakes (fried cornbread- for all ya'll that don't use the term ya'll), we finished with Mississippi Mudd cake and Sweet Potato Pie! (notice I capitalized the dessert)

All in all the dinner went great!

The coolest thing about the dinner is to see 27 students serving others.

These students had spent 9 days away from our community building and painting in Waveland, Mississippi, and 7 days running a Big A children's club and loving on the people of inner-city Detroit.

I feel I need to explain why this is so cool. These students are in the minority. I hope one day the majority.
Most students I come in contact with are more concerned with their latest clothing purchase or ipod, or when they are going to the beach or why their Volkswagon isn't good enough, they wanted the BMW. I even have a friend who just graduated high school who is so interested in herself that she blackmailed her dad for a few hundred bucks.

We live in a very wealthy area. Multi-million dollar homes line the beach and million dollar home surround those ones. It's in the shadows of these homes that gets me: children are being neglected, going without food or shoes, elderly are struggling to mow their lawns, single parents are working 2 and 3 jobs to make ends meet. Meanwhile, vehicles that cost more than my home pass by me every day and I know of people with engagement rings that could help solve world hunger. (Please note I am not against these things I just think if it's what's important and what we strive for, we're off- way off)

So when I look out across a dinning room and see 27 students serving, it rocks my boat.

In August this same group of students will be let loose on our own area to serve on a local mission trip.
I can't wait to see what they learned in Waveland and Detroit brought home here to our neighborhoods.

But for me, today it's Tuesday and so I will live in my bathing suit, crank my ipod to tobymac, visit with a friend and enjoy the day.

Carpe Diem.

Monday, July 28, 2008

San Francisco

I'm there.

Who Doesn't Just Love a Giveaway?!

The first is a
Native Heritage Tomahawk Kit
pre-cut leather "blade"
latigo leather lace
this was a leftover Cub Scout craft

Inventor's Workshop
never opened from Running Press
doesn't have an age listed on box?

from the box:
You can invent:
A self-propelled vehicle, A music maker, a telescoping arm
5 amazing inventions with hundreds of variations

Leave a comment stating which you'd like to be in the running for.
I'll draw the winners on Friday, August 1st.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Giveaway Coming!

Watch here on Monday, July 28th because I'm having a giveaway!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's Fun to Watch Them Sleep (this one has pics!)

It's been a crazy summer and I've never dreamed of quiet days like I have recently; where the refrigerator isn't always open and the ipod isn't blaring over the PS2, the floors are clean and the doors are closed. Then I get a hug or watch one of their new videos or see their new creation, Lego or Heroscape, and I'm brought back to the reality that my kids rock!
Life can be crazy but I've never been more thankful that it's crazy with them.

I was talking with my oldest the other day about when I found out I was pregnant with him. The majority of the people in our lives suggested I give him up for adoption or not have him. I was 18 and Steve 17 at the time. I was graduating high school and Steve still had one more year. "You are crazy to get married and even crazier to have a child" seemed to be the general words spoken to me the summer of 1993. We had a pastor refuse to marry us and a family boycott our wedding; but the good thing about being a teenager is that we knew it all and knew what we wanted and should do, and we did it.

So now 15 years later I look back and can't imagine life without him, or them for that matter!
Has it been hard?
yeah, of course. We were teen parents, set out into the world to raise a child when we ourselves were not fully raised. I would suggest though, that it has been no harder or more challenging than another path.
Has it been worth it? No doubt!
Have we sacrificed? duh? yeah! But don't we all sacrifice. Marriage, friends, children- successful relationships require sacrifice.

One of my favorite things to do is watch my children when they don't know I'm there. I think this starts when they are babies and we would sit and watch them sleep. It was exciting. To see their little hands and wrists, their little mouth and eyes as they peacefully slept the time away. Then as they grew to preschoolers I'd stand in the doorway of their playroom and watch them imagine and make sounds- they were always in a land far off in their imagination. As elementary schoolers I'd love to watch them work on their school; mouth moving as they concentrated on forming their letters correctly or the intensity as they learned to read. As teens I still grab a peak at them sleeping and last night I watched them interact with cousins and grandparents at my nephews 1st birthday party. As I watched my heart rejoiced at the opportunity I've had to live these last 15 years with 2 totally rockin' boys! My boys! God's boys!
They drive me crazy.
I truly am blessed.

It's painful being loved on, I know.

He really does love his mama!

Our budding guitar player. Not that I'm bragging but his teacher says he's never had a student with a memory like J. I love the guitar and am constantly serenaded with Skip to My Lou, Iron Man, Smoke on Water and a plethora of classic beginner tunes as well as 80's hairband guitar solos (many of which he has figured out himself). Rock on!

So today when the door is left open and the a/c is trying to keep up; when the fridge is open and the pantry is being raided, when the floor I just vacuumed gets dirty and the yard I just picked up gets cluttered I'll sit back and read this post and remember that my kids rock and I'm lucky to have them in my life each and every day!


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Had a Thought Today

Have you ever thought about the fact that young people in today's society film just about everything and post it somewhere on the web.
Youtube, myspace, facebook...
I'm interested to see what this will hold for future presidents, senators, congressmen, governors.... I'm not sure there will be a person out there who doesn't have something archived somewhere on the world wide web.
I think it'll bring an honesty out, the term skeletons in the closet may be a term of the past. I also think it'll bring an "everyone has done it" attitude as well. Events and situations that really are inappropriate will be deemed as OK; after all there are hundreds of videos on the web of tons of different people acting stupid in the same or similar way. We'll look at childish behavior is college age students, or any age, as part of growing up, or "just being a girl" or "boys will be boys", when statistically not everyone is "doing it" (this reaches beyond our s*xual mindset when I use that term).
Just as our polluting and current day living will effect the earth so will this public display of our youth.
Have you checked out my kids youtube?
Makes me think as a parent.
What are your thoughts?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

This Too Will Pass

Can someone please tell me if the words "teenager" and "hormones" are synonyms for argue?

What is it about 14 years olds that they must argue. I love him. He rocks; but he's eventually going to stop arguing with me, isn't he?

He even argues over things we agree on.

Here's my tip: don't argue back. Even when you want to- DON'T. It's better to let the teenager say his piece and then move on with it; be assured that one day he'll grow up, smarten up and realize that mom was not as wrong as he thought she was and he too will one day have a teenager all his own.

Monday, July 14, 2008

How Do I Titled This?

Good Monday morning to all who are sitting down to read this!
We had a good weekend around here.
On Friday we sent Steve off to NH for his youngest sisters wedding.
I gotta be honest- I was looking forward to the few days of no husband around. Sounds worse than it is I just know there are a few things I do more of when Steve's gone and I was ready to get at it! What is it you ask? Sewing!!! For whatever reason sewing gets put on the back burner more than any other activity around here and when Steve's gone I have a little more freedom to lock myself up in my sewing room. So I did and got a bunch of baby stuff made, I'm running about 2-3 months behind on these gifts, and have about 4 babies to sew for! Anyway I got all the girl stuff out of the way and now onto the baby boy sewing!

So we picked Steve up at the airport yesterday and only had to make one loop before he was waiting for us with the best pizza I've had in his backpack! Yep, we had 2 requests from his trip back "home" the first was Village Pizza, the second a Coronis grinder. He came through on the pizza end, anyone from our little hometown knows the tastiness of Village Pizza; I'm not sure if it's the sauce or the crust or what, but the one little piece I had yesterday satisfied tastes buds I had long since forgot about.

Now onto the pictures. As I'm flipping through the camera this is what I come to.

The time on the microwave as to how late they were up playing cribbage.

His friends back yard.

A window at the lodge where the wedding was held.

Nice one babe! Way to stay on top of the picture taking while visiting people we haven't seen in a few years!
You can bet I was happy when some actual people pics showed up.
Here are our god-children, I think that's the proper term. It's been 3 years since we'd seen them and if you know anything about kids it's that they change weekly!

Here's Steve's cousin, you know the one from the Home Depot commercials. What's neat about being from the same hometown is that Steve and I shared friends like her. Before I married him she was already a friend of mine.

Here is Steve's youngest sister and step-dad. He said the wedding was very nice, held at a local ski mountain, good food, fellowship and fun!

So that was our weekend. I'll post pics of the baby stuff when I get around to taking pictures, which should be soon because I don't want to wait another 2 months to give the gifts out- heavens these babies will be 12 before I get around to giving them anything! Hey don't laugh I still haven't finished Vaughan's quilt I started before he was born!

Wishing you all a good week- stay healthy, stay happy and smile, it adds to your face value!

How about you, what do you like to do when your family, or part of it, is not around?

PS Happy Birthday to my big brother!! Wish I was there!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Disaster Clean Up is Now Complete

This is a follow-up from the post below.

Quick before I head to work with the younger boys for a meeting.
Here's our noon time clean up.
8 boys...

1. had the living room, he put it back together and vacuumed, he also vacuumed all rugs and the dining room.

2 and 3 Doing dishes

4. cooking lunch

5 and 6 cleaned the Lego room and were fooling around when I came for the photo opt

Again having fun-they did get the room vacuumed

7 showed up in time to help fill water bottles

and last but not least little #8- he did an excellent job with the Legos, and entertaining Fluff!

So perhaps I will have another sleepover, someday,
far away from today.

And then that night when I've been woken up for the 4th time and it's 2am I will shake my head, rub my eyes and walk back into my room saying something like "we'll never do this again" or "no more sleepovers".

It's just how we roll around here.
Currently catching my breath from under the laundry pile
Enough food received


I Can Sleep Through Natural Disasters

Please someone smack me up side my head the next time I mention having a sleepover at my house.
6 boys eat more food than the local grocery carries and stay up way to late.
I'm tired, I'm cranky and I'm hungry.
Actually I'm not cranky it just sounded good, but I am tired.
2 am isn't what it use to be, darn it I should have called Uncle Rich.

Upon further investigation it looks as though a bomb went off in the Lego room, a tornado hit the living room, a swarm of locusts went through the kitchen and pantry and a hurricane came through the front yard.

My departing words as I stumbled off to bed were- this is not happening again.
Of course it will,
we all know that
and when it does...
someone please smack me.
Amanda I think you're the only one who'll actually do it so I'm writing this to you.

From under the laundry pile I'm pleading...
Please send food.

PS don't feel too bad for me in about an hour I'll line up the whole gang, assign their duties and spend the next hour overseeing the mass clean up of the Span Ranch- something all kids learn quickly at my house, if you're here enough you have a job! They actually come back!!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Cosmic Bowling

Last night we took the middle schoolers bowling, Cosmic Bowling.
What a blast!
We arrived at 9:30pm and bowled 6 lanes raw by 11:30pm!
It was such a blast! (did I say that already?)
I wear many hats at middle school events and it's not a bad thing, it's actually fun that all my hats can come together. I get to hang with my kids, my best friend and the girls I've come to love from living life with them these last 3 years and I get paid to be there! Who would complain about that?

38 of us showed up, my guess would be about 8 adults and 30 students. The event was open to students who just graduated 6th grade through students who graduated 8th grade. Cosmic bowling means black light and late nights. My bowling fun consisted of me getting one of the lowest scores and my best friend and "boss", you know the old people I hang with who are competitive, bringing in the high scores each and every string.

I was proud of Vaughan for bowling lefty all night . Kev and I even bowled a whole string that way, he did pretty good, I bombed! Our lane also had a bowling challenge and each took a turn bowling frontward, backward, granny style and other crazy ways.

A good group of new kids showed up, both 6th graders and 9th graders, and we really ticked the lady off who worked there, although I did get to have a nice conversation with her and I think she liked us before the night was over.

Back to the ticking her off part:
To begin with when I called to confirm earlier in the day she had no idea we were coming and after calling the owner she said it was "unfortunate" that she would have to be there later than usual. Next, our youth Pastor referred to her as a man, "Just pay the man" he said to a student jokingly; "I'm a women" was her response. Lastly if the first stink bomb didn't make her mad the second one surely did and I kept on bowling while she lectured the kids and threatened "whoever did this!". Of course there was no doubt in my mind who had done it, and no it was not one of my kids- it was... actually I'll keep this info in house, if you work with our youth long enough stink bombs in public places can only come from one student, and he's one of my favorites!

So we're about half way through our summer and have several events done and several more on the horizon. I'm looking forward to each event that comes up and can't figure out how I got so blessed to have my job, my kids and my friends all come together for more fun than I could have imagined. God's cool like that!

Monday, July 07, 2008

4th of July

*video included- a must see*

Happy Fourth of July!
A little late but I hope you all had a wonderful 4th and ate good food, fellowshipped with friends and family and enjoyed some fireworks and sparklers!
Our fourth didn't end without the excitement that teenage boys bring to it!
I spent the first 2 hours of my day sitting on the beach reading. I took a nice walk up the beach and a quick dip to cool off before heading home to help Steve begin building our new shed out back. When we returned from our mission trip we noticed Vaughan's bike had been stolen off our back porch! I know, I know, it should have been elsewhere, but after months of it parked out back and being safe we didn't think much of it. So the shed became even higher on the "To Do" list.
After a good part of the day in the blazing sun we made our way, with 2 extras in tow, to Steve's dad's house for food and fun. My sister-in-law and family are down from NH so after dinner and before the fireworks I took my niece and we walked the 2 blocks to the local festivities on the river. There was face painting and jumpy slides, bounce houses and bands. The boys all found friends and before we knew it it was time for the fireworks to begin. The show was great and ended with the best finale I had seen in awhile, eat your heart out Walt Disney.
Finally by 10:30 we made our way home, and the that's when the fun began.
Your best bet is to watch this video.

Yes, they used one of Papou's creations, the same one used 15 years ago that blew off parts of his hand. Something about a quarter stick of dynamite? Those of you around then most likely think we're crazy, heck most of you must think that- hey I never said kids having kids was a good idea! Anyway with proper supervision all kinds of things have been blowing up around here. When a mother looks out her front window and sees her eldest hiding behind a piece of plywood, or sees his best friend wearing a Darth Vader mask, think jacket and gloves, she begins to wonder if things are heading in the wrong direction. The only injury suffered was a cut to the hand last night from a Samurai sword (don't ask). So I give ALL thanks to the Lord for another safe 4th of July day around here.
I apologise to my neighbors, we should run out of fireworks soon; and to Uncle Chuck, thanks for not only leaving the car at our place but giving it to us as well.
So how about you- how was your 4th?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Going to be an Interesting Fall

We got news yesterday that Vaughan will have to sit out of all athletics for the next 2 months, maybe even 6.

During his football scrimmage on May 22, he popped his shoulder out of socket. Of course being 14 it popped right back in, although the pain of stretched muscles and ligaments haunts him to this day.

Football officially starts on Monday and we'll have to make the trek to the coaches office, who also happens to be his guidance counselor, and tell him the bad news. I'm not sure what he'll say?

We're taking it all in stride, he's only 14 and we don't want a lifelong injury all for the sake of football. It will be tough on him, for anyone that knows Vaughan, knows he loves athletics in general. Football, basketball, dodgeball, kickball, 2-base, discgolf, you name he loves it!

It may end up being a blessing, come August 18 he'll step for the first time ever into a public institution where he'll sit for 7 hours and come home with homework, add in projects and girls, teachers and PE uniforms and our fall is really going to interesting; it might not be bad if 2+ hours of practice a night is omitted from the schedule.



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