Friday, April 30, 2010

Day 259 - April 30, 2010

I can never predict how Micah will respond when I pull out the camera. There are times when he’ll ask to have his picture taken, like the day he sported his new water wings.

And then there are days when I’ll ask him to smile and he’ll deliberately look the other way, pretending he doesn’t hear me.

But on this day, Micah turned into a little model. I told him I wanted to take his picture in front of the Ferris wheel and he just started posing.

Mr. I-want-nothing-to-do-with-that-camera turned into Mr. GQ!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day 258 - April 29, 2010

Getting my family to the airport on Tuesday was far from uneventful. Their flight was scheduled for 12:15pm so I had told them we needed to leave for the airport by 10am to be sure they made it in time to check their baggage and get through security. I spent the morning cleaning up and getting my last few cuddles in with the boys while my sister and her husband packed their stuff which, with two small kids, had made it’s way to every corner of our apartment.

I remember glancing at the clock at 9:58am and saying to Steph that we needed to be in the car in 2 minutes. The luggage was at the door and Ben and I decided to take it down to the car while Steph grabbed something to eat and got the boy’s shoes on. Ben was barely out of the doorway when the handle of their large rolling suitcase snapped. He spent the next 15-20 minutes trying to get the handle to retract back into the top of the suitcase with no luck. They finally decided they would have to break it off.

Down in the parking garage, we strapped the boys into their car seats and Steph and Ben struggled to get the double stroller and bulging suitcases into the trunk of the car. At one point, I really didn’t think there was anyway we would be able to fit everything into the car.

Nearly 25 minutes after we had hoped to leave, we were on the road and I was praying we wouldn’t hit traffic. But of course, 10 minutes into our drive, we were in stop-and-go traffic. We watched the minutes tick by as it got later and later. I felt sick to my stomach as Steph announced, “I don’t think we’re going to make this plane.”

When we finally made it onto the highway that would take us South to the airport, I knew our only shot at making it on time was to get into the carpool lane and pray there wasn’t an accident up ahead. I gripped the steering wheel, put the pedal to the floor, and prayed for safety as we flew down the mountain passed 4 or 5 lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic. At one point, Steph or Ben said, “This must be what it feels like to be on The Amazing Race.” You know, that anxious pit in your stomach feeling?

We were 10 minutes away and could see our exit in the distance. We just might make it, I thought. Oh, but guess what? The exit lane was CLOSED! Just our luck. Everything that could go wrong was going wrong and we began questioning whether or not they were meant to get on that plane.

As we finally made our way to Terminal 6, exactly one hour before their flight was scheduled to take off, we made a game plan to unload the luggage and get the kids in the stroller as quickly as possible while Ben took the car seats out. I had just finished strapping Micah into the stroller and was making my way around the car to get Noah when I saw the car jerk backwards. “In my rush, I didn’t put the car into park,” I thought. I looked down and saw that I was holding the car keys in my hand. “What just happened,” I asked Ben as I saw him get pushed backwards with the car. “You just got hit,” Ben said. Are you kidding me?? The man parked in front of us had put his car into reverse and backed up into us. Just when I thought we were home free and nothing else could go wrong, we were hit by a car. Thankfully, no one was hurt and the damage to the cars was very minor.

I said a very quick and tearful goodbye. When I got into the car, I thanked God for getting us to the airport on time, but most of all safely, in spite of all the challenges we had encountered. But, the journey wasn’t over for me. Through my tears, I took the wrong exit and ended up somewhere South of the airport. Brutal!!

I am happy to say that Steph, Ben, Micah, and Noah made it home safely Tuesday night. We had a wonderful week together and captured countless memories on film. I look forward to sharing more pictures in the weeks to come.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 257 - April 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day 256 - April 27, 2010

I just got in from dropping Steph, Ben, Micah, and Noah off at the airport and I miss them already. The apartment is quiet and empty and my heart is aching the way it did when we left them in January. I look around the room and picture Noah climbing up onto the ottoman. I see Micah laughing as he drives his new racecar around the floor. But then I blink and I’m alone again and I can’t stop the tears. I made Micah promise to call me tomorrow when he’s home. I can’t wait to see their faces again and hear their sweet voices. Thank goodness for webcam.

P.S. Happy Birthday, Matt!! I love you!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 255 - April 26, 2010

Not ready to say goodbye to this sweet kissable little face!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Day 254 - April 25, 2010

Micah 7:7

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 252 - April 23, 2010

Water Babies!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day 251 - April 22, 2010

Can you guess where we spent the day?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 250 - April 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 249 - April 20, 2010

I’m only hours away from kissing these sweet faces and I’m a bundle of nerves. My excitement to see this little family has turned my stomach into knots. Oddly, I feel like I’m going to an interview for some high-powered job rather than going to the airport to pick up four people I love so much. Maybe the nerves come from the fact that I need to be at the airport in a few short hours and I have yet to shower and clean the bathroom. I hate to admit it, but I was sucked in to an interview with Octomom on Oprah in the middle of cleaning the toilet. I should probably get back to it. I don’t anticipate much blogging over the next week as I would much rather be cuddling my boys and experiencing California life through their eyes. Expect photos galore!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 248 - April 19, 2010

I'm starting to think my dear friend, Mr. UPS, has forgotten about me. I haven't seen him in what feels like ages. Luckily, I am still visited by the regular postman daily and he left a wonderful surprise in my mailbox this morning.

This package couldn't have come at a better time. My yummy little Noah will be here tomorrow and I can't wait to put my mommy skills to work making fresh baby food for my sweet nephew.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day 247 - April 18, 2010

Matthew 19:14

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day 246 - April 17, 2010

There are days when it feels like my husband and I are living on different planets. Sure, we share a tiny apartment, but it often feels like we are worlds apart. He wakes up with the alarm every weekday morning and bikes into work for the day while I take my time moving from the bed to the couch where I spend most of my day reading, writing, talking with family, and catching up on my favorite TV shows. Before the sun sets, my husband walks through the door, while I’m finishing up dinner, gives me a kiss and sets up his laptop and drawing board for the night. We eat dinner together and talk about our days, which usually consists of him telling me about his latest encounter with some famous Disney employee and me telling him about my latest giveaway winnings or what our nephew’s did today. The remainder of the evening is spent more like roommates than a married couple. He retreats to his corner of the room to draw while I plant myself in front of TV (yet again) and watch whatever reality show is on that night. You’d think that after spending a long day apart, we’d connect for more than 15 minutes over dinner.

This weekend, it seems like we’re on the same page again and it has been so refreshing. It was date night last night and we saw a wonderful show, about 3 married couples, at a little theatre nearby. We laughed all night and saw so many similarities between the actor’s relationships and our marriage that made us reevaluate the way we act around each other and speak to one another when we are together.

This morning, we went for a long hike through a breath-taking canyon that lead to a picturesque waterfall. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to talk and help each other over the rocks and streams we encountered. It was so nice to spend quality time together since our weekday evenings in front of the TV can hardly be counted as quality time. I assume we are not alone in this; that other marriages also need reminders to speak kindly to one another and do more than just exist in the same space. I am so glad we were served our reminder at the beginning of the weekend so that we have a whole 2 days to enjoy each other’s company.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Day 245 - April 16, 2010

On my hands and knees scrubbing the floor and feeling a little bit like Cinderella.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day 244 - April 15, 2010

I expected the next few days to move at a snail’s pace as I anxiously anticipated the arrival of my sister and her family, but with a never-ending to-do list, I think the next 4 days are going to fly. There is laundry to be done, a closet to be cleaned out, groceries to be bought, floors to be washed, a bathroom to be scrubbed, and carpet to be vacuumed. But I am happy to do it because when the work is done, I get a whole week to love on my sweet little boys!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day 243 - April 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 242 - April 13, 2010

I’ve just started reading a book that has me thinking about my childhood and the traditions I will carry on with my family. Many of my favourite childhood memories revolve around food. For example, on our birthdays, my mother would ask us to choose anything we wanted for dinner. I could have asked for pan roasted chicken rotini stuffed with basil pesto, Parmesan cheese and prosciutto ham topped with a creamy alfredo cream sauce and served with smashed red potatoes and my mother would have found a way to make it happen. Luckily for her, my birthday request was always beef stroganoff and frozen peas with a heart shaped cherry chip Betty Crocker mix cake topped with homemade pink icing for dessert.

The other week, I decided to make my birthday meal for dinner. The entire day, I looked forward to dinner. My mouth watered every time I thought about it and couldn’t wait to take that first bite when my husband got home. As I prepared the ingredients, memories of my birthdays came flooding back. I remember being drawn out of my bedroom by the smell of onions and ground beef browning in the electric skillet. I remember opening the cans of mushroom soup for my mother and draining the liquid off of the canned mushrooms. I remember anticipating the whole family around the table enjoying my favourite meal. I remember how special it was to eat in the dining room on my birthday and sit at the head of the table. In the past few years, Greg has asked me which restaurant I want to go to for my birthday and every year I tell him, I just want to be home on my birthday and enjoy a home cooked meal (preferably cooked by someone else) with the people I love. While my friends had birthday parties at McDonald’s, I celebrated in the only place I wanted to be. Home.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 241 - April 12, 2010

I had a long conversation with my 2-1/2 year old nephew this morning over webcam. We talked about what he had for lunch, what we’re going to do when he gets to California, who we’re going to see at Disneyland, and even shared a very special secret which technically only remained a secret for about 7 minutes before he shared it with his mom and little brother.

At one point during our conversation, Micah was playing with Play-Doh. “Look at this,” he said as he held up 2 pieces that had been formed into rectangular blocks. Then he held up a dried up piece of Play-Doh that hadn’t yet taken shape. Earlier he had watched his Mom attempt to mold the crusty dough into a block. “Mommy can’t do it,” he said, “Daddy can do it, but Mommy can’t. Daddy’s good at doing Play-Doh.” Here is the conversation that followed.

Andrea: What’s the best thing Daddy does for you?

Micah: My daddy can do tricks.

Andrea: Wow! Your daddy can do tricks? What kind of tricks?

Micah responded with some gibberish and amusing facial expressions.

Andrea: And what’s the best thing Mommy does for you?

Micah: Mommy cleans up.

It was at this moment that my sister walked back into the room and we just howled! Out of the mouths of babes. Luckily for my sister, Micah knows his way around a broom and a dustbuster!

Aside: I just spent the last 2 hours searching for a photo of Micah sweeping the kitchen floor to prove he really does like to clean. I am convinced he must have deleted it from my computer. This photo will have to do.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Day 240 - April 11, 2010

Proverb 30:8

"... give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Day 239 - April 10, 2010

Time to break out the licorice and Junior Mints because it's date night! Well, actually it's date afternoon but that just doesn't have the same ring to it. And what better way to spend our afternoon than at the movies.

All week long I've been hearing about the movie "Date Night" and watching interviews with Steve Carell and Tina Fey. It's suppose to be hilarious! Looks like the perfect thing to see after my hubby's busy week at work and overtime hours this morning. And I think we may stop in at the bargain bookstore to find some bedtime stories for our nephew's visit. Maybe even a trip to Costco. This is totally my kind of afternoon! What are you up to this fine Saturday?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Day 238 - April 9, 2010

Guess who got his first haircut today?

This little boy just oozes cuteness!! And with his new California surfer do, Noah’s all ready for his close-up! Can’t wait for our photo shoot on the beach! Many, many, many photos to follow in the coming weeks!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Day 237 - April 8, 2010

Spring has sprung in our home.

From an Easter lily in full bloom... little bitty basil sprouts.

I am always amazed this time of year. Isn't it incredible what can come of a tiny seed, some soil, water, and sunlight? Watching my little basil grow has become my new hobby. It's like a pet really. And probably the closest I'll ever come to having a pet. I may lose three quarters of my followers but I'll say it anyway, I am not a pet person! I don't mind that other people have pets and I'm no animal hater, but I'd just rather walk through this world without pet hair on my clothes. Anyway, back to my pet basil. It's no exaggeration that I check on my pal every hour to see if he's a little taller or needs a drink of water. I take better care of him these days than I do myself. I've barely left the couch all day, I forgot about lunch until after 2pm, and it was a miracle that I even got dressed (in sweats, mind you) before noon. I am just happy that I have something to keep my mind busy as I anxiously await the arrival of my brother, sister, and nephews in under two weeks!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day 236 - April 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Day 235 - April 6, 2010

This weekend, my husband and I stumbled upon the greatest bookstore I've ever been to. What would have cost me $107.94 in a retail bookstore cost me only $4.00 at this bargain bookstore! Every single book in the store is only $1.00!! That's cheaper than our local library which charges $1 to place a hold on an item and you don't get to keep the book. This store has everything from children's books to text books, travel books to religious books, fiction and non-fiction, you name it, they have it. It's incredible what you can find for $1 if you just take some time to look. I'm hoping I picked some winners!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Day 234 - April 5, 2010

The earth shook and the rocks spilt. - Matthew 27:37

A few weeks ago, I shared our experience waking up to feel the earth shaking beneath us. We heard the rumblings and felt the room vibrate. Yesterday, on Easter Sunday, the earth shook once again. We had decided to spend the afternoon at the movie theatre watching, Waking Sleeping Beauty, a documentary about a 10 year period in the history of Walt Disney that changed the face of animation forever. About an hour into the film, I felt my chair moving and immediately turned to the people behind us thinking someone must be kicking my seat. I saw my husband do the same and then noticed others looking around the theatre. It was a strange sensation like something I’ve never experienced before. It was as if the entire room was swaying. I felt like I was on a swing or on the deck of a ship rocking with the waves. This rocking lasted between 20 and 30 seconds which is by far the longest episode we have every experienced. When the swaying subsided, I heard someone behind me say, “Look, it was a 7.2!” He was on his iPhone or Blackberry or whatever device it was that could access the Internet. I was in shock knowing that the devastating earthquake in Haiti was a magnitude 7.0 earthquake. I worried about what we’d see when we exited the theatre.

When we arrived home, we learned that at 3:40pm we had experienced the largest earthquake to this area in about 18 years. The epicenter was near the California-Mexico border and had been felt as far as Nevada and Arizona. As I type, the news anchor tells me that while there are no reports of significant damage in L.A., Mexico has experienced substantial damage including a collapsed concrete parking structure. Two are dead and hundreds are injured. Multiple aftershocks have been reported and are expected for the next few days, which has so many on edge.

Once again, we are thankful to be safe and pray for those in Mexico and around the world who have been affected by recent earthquakes.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Day 233 - April 4, 2010

Matthew 28:6

"He is not here; he has risen, just as he said."

Christ is risen!

He is risen indeed!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Day 232 - April 3, 2010

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Day 231 - April 2, 2010

Good Friday

From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” – which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” - Matthew 27:45-46

It is this verse that brings me to tears every Good Friday, but this year, I think about this verse in a way I never considered in years past. This year, I am reminded of something I heard back in January. I was listening to a talk given by William Paul Young (author of The Shack). He was talking about Jesus’ relationship with God and how God was with Jesus every step he took on earth. He said, “(Jesus) has never known a time in his existence that he did not sense the presence of the Father.” While Jesus was human, he felt God’s presence every moment of every day. That is not something we, as human beings, can say. We often find ourselves crying out, “Where are you, God? I can’t feel you. I’m lost and I need you, Lord. Where are you?” Mr. Young reminded me that on Good Friday, up there on the cross, Jesus experienced what we often do when he cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” In that moment, Jesus felt alone and abandoned. And then he made the greatest statement of trust, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Jesus would never have said that if he truly felt God had abandoned him. God didn’t abandon his son on the cross and he doesn’t abandon us. “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

Jesus died on the cross that day, but that is not the last chapter. The story is not finished. Death doesn’t have the last word; God does.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Day 230 - April 1, 2010

I cannot draw to save my life. This is no April Fool's Day joke! Honestly, I have the art skills of a 5-year-old. I would show you my latest attempt at drawing an Easter bunny for my nephews if I weren’t so utterly embarrassed by my lack of talent. I was even too embarrassed to include the bunny drawing in their Easter card. I would be surprised that I even passed 1st grade art except that, growing up, I had a secret weapon when it came to art projects…. my mother. I’ll let you in on a little secret, if you promise not to tell my Grade 8 art teacher. Promise? Okay, good. Every single art assignment I ever turned in was done mainly by my mother. I’d usually take a stab at it and then upon seeing my hopeless drawing, my mother would come in and save the day. I even won a countywide drawing contest thanks to her work. My/her drawing was chosen out of hundreds to be printed on a silk tie (with my name on it) and sold to raise money for the local food bank. I was interviewed by the local news and had my picture in the newspaper. All I did was colour in a few measly pieces of fruit. She did the rest. Phew, feels good to get that one off my chest.

My husband, on the other hand, is an extremely talented artist. You’ve heard me say it before and I’ll say it again; I am in complete awe of his talents. I don’t even mind that his quick/rough sketches end up all over our dining room table just after I’ve cleaned up. I could watch him draw all day and can’t believe that his hands can create such works of art.

Today, I am especially proud since some of his latest work is being featured in a caricature show at Disney. I’m headed there to see it in about an hour. Hopefully I’ll be able to take a picture of his art up on display, but in case I don’t, check out some of his caricatures on his blog.