Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Porch Light

I guess the porch light has many uses: welcomes guests to a bright doorway, lets trick or treaters know there is candy at "that house", and it looks nice when driving by.

My porch light is used for all those reasons. And one more. It lets me know when my girls are home at night.

It seems that every night they have somewhere to go. When did sitting home with me become so boring?? Just because I go to bed around 8:30 doesn't mean I'm not a barrel of laughs until then. They just roll their eyes when I say I'll stay up late and watch a movie with them. They know to well that I'll be asleep snoring on the couch before the 2nd main character is introduced. God love them.

So. They go out. OK.

Kalie, being 20, and being very responsible with coming in at reasonable times, doesn't really have a curfew. Besides, she is stealth when she arrives home. If event planning doesn't work out well for her in the future, I highly recommend she become a spy where stealth activity is necessary. I never hear this child.

When she was younger, I could never wait up for her, but that wasn't necessary.
I have a porch light. And if I woke after what was her curfew, the light would always be off, and she would be tucked safely away in her bed. #1 child. Not to worry about.

Now, Ashley is a different story. Yes, she is incredibly responsible, but that porch light has been left on far too long into the morning hours for my peace of mind. Last night, the porch light needed to be changed because it ran out of juice somewhere after midnight.

Being 18, almost 19, she doesn't understand why she even needs a curfew. I'm having a bit of a hard time letting this one go. She has proven herself to be very respectful, attending college and passing (both are requirements here), and holding a steady job.

Perhaps, I should lighten up a bit. And invest in florescent lighting for the porch. I heard those bulbs last longer.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas is back....

For the past several years, I've decided I wasn't really into Christmas anymore. I loved the birth of Christ, and honoring him was always, daily on my mind. It was the decorating the house, buying tons of gifts, and hearing holiday music to nausium that got to me. So we often headed to Hawaii and ended up surfing on Christmas Day.

But, now we have Austin.

How do you skip Christmas with a toddler in the house?? Yeah, right.

But with the toddler, came the feeling of wanting Christmas again. I am enjoying the holiday music in my car, we've decorated the house (so, so pretty), and I've put a major limit on spending for Christmas.

When Kalie and Ashley were little, I remember watching them tear through packages, only to grab another one to tear through with little to no appreciation for what they just opened. Tearing open packages seemed to be more fun! It was then and there that I decided, "Jesus got 3 gifts at his birth, you two can have the same!" After that, I no longer went bizzerk buying tons of gifts which would be soon forgotten by January 31st.

That rule still applies today. Don't feel sorry for them. They got 3 really, really good gifts. And stockings didn't count. I put a few extra nice gifts in there as well.

This is the Christmas photo I'll be sending out this year. I hope yours is jolly and bright as we worship the One who is the reason for this season!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Hello, Again!

I am not a picture taker. I'm the person that sees the moment and then says, "Shoot, I wish I had my camera." I wish I had my camera this past week. I was up in Big Bear - one of my favorite places on earth!

My family - Mom, Kalie, Ashley, Austin, and myself went up the day after Thanksgiving for a little R & R. Todd stayed home to work. Little did we know....

As we headed out - I drove my mom and Austin, while Ashley drove her car with her sister. As we approached the one mile mark before getting off the freeway and starting the mountain ascent, Austin began heaving and throwing up all over himself, his car seat, and the backseat in general. Of course, being in the fast lane - God miraculously cleared all lanes as I beelined it toward the shoulder. Austin was throwing up so much that he was almost gagging. I jumped out of my seat as cars whizzed by and grabbed my son. I held him over my arm as I raced to get on the other side of the car. He continued to throw up a bit more and looked at me with pleading eyes. He wanted me to hold him close, but honestly, with throw up all over the front of him - I just couldn't see pressing him against me. So I did what any other loving mother would do - I yelled for my mom to get a quick change of clothes while I stripped him down and cleaned him off with my bottled water.

After he was settled, my mom held him and I began scrubbing his car seat on the side of the freeway. Of course, this is when the call came from my girls asking if they'd gone too far as they were now approaching Palm Springs..... I told them to stop at a gas station and ask for directions as I was busy cleaning up Austin's breakfast, lunch and dinner for the past 6 weeks. I hung up to hysterical laughter on the other end. Such compassion.

When I had done my best to make the car clean, we headed toward our destination. Ten minutes into the ascent, Austin threw up all over AGAIN. No problem, been there - done that. We had the drill down. Change Austin, clean car seat, disinfect car, start again. Poor kid. Needless to say, driving 5 miles an hour doesn't make you popular when there aren't many turn outs on the mountain road. But, ask me if I cared - not when my baby's health is in question. I politely smiled and waved back as they pointed their finger toward God and mouthed what I could only take as "I hope your son is feeling better!"

We finally arrived and started to unpack. Every floor to ceiling window looked out on the lake. It was magical. Austin seemed to be ok, but he was still looking a bit blue. We pretty much did what I intended to do for the whole week: nothing. We sat around and talked. But, Austin began the dry heaving and the doctor needed to be called. That 24 hour period was rough, but Saturday and Sunday turned out to be spent throwing rocks in the lake, driving through the village and window shopping.

The plan was for Ashley to drive Austin and my mom home on Sunday, while Kalie and I stayed until Friday. So when Austin was safely asleep, they headed down the mountain. All was well, and they got home with no problems!!!

A few hours later, my stomach started to feel a bit "off". By evening, Kalie was throwing up, and I joined her. Pins and needles racked our bodies and we could not keep anything down. Pure misery. But the lake outside my bedroom window did so much to ease my pain.

By 11:00 PM I called my mom to see how she was doing. Fine. Until we hung up - then she got it. Ashley called to say that she had just thrown up at her boyfriend's house and was heading home. Good Lord, this stuff is potent. We all suffered for 24 hours, and then it seemed to go away.

Tuesday morning, Todd called to tell me he was throwing up. Somehow this virus clung to Ashley and jumped on any unsuspecting fool that walked by. Not only was Todd now clinging to life, but her boyfriend called to say that he was also joining in the fun. I tried to be encouraging when I told them they would feel better in 24 hours. It was that "light at the end of the tunnel" I was hoping would soothe their beings. Really, though, you could care less about the end of the road while pins and needles are attacking your body at the present moment.

Carmen stayed and helped Austin with his bath and bedtime to give Todd a break. I fasted and prayed that she would not also get it. But, of course, she had a small bout with it the next day.

With guilt piling up, Kalie and I decided to leave early and come home. I looked at the beautiful lake with trees surrounding, saw all the duck families contently swimming along, and envied all the boaters out on the glassy water. Until next summer -

It was quite a week -