Monday, May 19, 2008

Rainy days and Mondays. . .

I knew I was in for an emotionally unstable kinda day when I woke on the verge of tears lamenting the fact that my kids don't take bubble baths anymore. C'mon, what's that all about?!

It seems I'm having one of those "rainy days and Mondays always gets me down" kind of days, only it's not raining...yet. It's been raining off and on for the past few days and it seems that it may continue for a few more. This morning seemed to be promising sunshine, but now it's a bit cold and cloudy and the forecast is calling for scattered showers.

For some odd reason, I just can't stop breaking into tears today. Nothing's wrong. The kids are healthy, Hubby's great, I'm feeling healthy, but I guess I'm just feeling old. When I found myself crying in my coffee this morning because my kids are growing up and no longer playing with all their bath toys, I decided to attempt to escape my doldrums with my usual Monday routine at the gym. I mean, come on, what did I expect? The cubs are 10 & 12! I don't think they've played with bath toys for years - at least not Darlin', Buddy just graduated to showers this year.

As the conversations surrounding me at the gym revolved over discussions of children, babies to sweet sixteen, I naturally found myself crying in my please-pick-me-up-Starbucks-non-fat-decaf-cappuccino on the ride home. Being that it is lacking the all important pick-me-up ingredients ... it didn't do the trick.

Recently someone was telling me how they went through a period of grieving when they realized they weren't going to be having any more children. She said she kept crying over all the old baby and toddler pictures, because she would no longer be that kind of Mommy any more. I suppose that's how I'm feeling today, as I choke back the tears yet again this morning. It's tough to accept not being that kind of Mommy anymore sometimes. I just need to focus on being a new kind of Mommy, where we play basketball instead of swing at the park, or Risk instead of Monopoly Jr., or be amazed at their classical pieces instead of twinkle twinkle variations, or women's size 6 1/2 hot pink heels instead of Disney Princess sandals.

Home alone, my mind is flooding with all the cute little memories of the cubs growing up. Dance recitals and pink tutus for Darlin' at 2, jumping up and down on stage and clapping for herself when she finished performing for the first time! Little Buddy at 2 crying in the parking lot because he bit his tongue. Me standing there laughing, because he stuck it out and asked me to kiss it to make it better! Piano performances at the mall where passersby would stop to stare at the adorable little boy (4) who would continue to play as he turned and smiled at the audience every few seconds. Darlin' (4) who pulled out all her toys and stuck them by the front door when I told her we were going to look for a new house. When we pulled up to the first place to look at she asked, "Is this the house store?"

Ahh, now I finally have a smile on my face this morning.

Philippians 1:3 - I thank my God every time I remember you.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Prince Caspian has finally arrived and he did not disappoint! The movie started out with a bang and kept me on the edge of my seat from the start (and that's sayin' something since we just finished reading the book a few days ago!)

Obviously, some tweeking was done to the story to adapt it to the silver screen. As the novel is much more narrative, the film needed to deliver the same info and impact only more so visually. I do believe that the movie delivered an action packed adventure that kept the essence C.S. Lewis' novel alive. In fact, I quite enjoyed some of the additions in the battle sequences and relationship nuances that added to the intrique of the story.

My favorite character in Prince Caspian is the mouse, Reepicheep! He had the best one liners and stole the scenes quite a bit. I must say, he was awfully adorable for a talking rodent! Keep an eye out for how he deals with the cat - quite memorable.

My only complaint is that Bulgy Bear needed more screen time! He was just a giant teddy bear in the book and we only got a few glimpses of him in the film. I do hope he'll be back with a bit bigger bulgy role in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

The creatures of Narnia were so real it was unbelievable. I truly felt transported to a different world. The special effects were so incredible, that I almost believed there could be talking mice, centaurs, Badger and Bulgy Bear. Likewise, the battle scenes and action sequences were quite realistic and could be a bit scary for the 10 and under crowd. The wolf and hag were enough to keep Buddy and I huddled together for a few minutes til the White Witch was defeated once and for all!

As we drove home tonight, I enjoyed listening to Darlin' discuss with her friend and me the many lessons to be learned from the movie. Here's just some of the insights my 12 year old and I gleaned from this blockbuster.

  • As Christian we sometimes feel out of place in this world, just like the Pevensie children did back in England after living as Kings and Queens in Narnia. Our true home is heaven.
  • Peter realized he needed to be seeking Aslan and not relying on his own sense of direction or strength.
  • Sometimes we need to trust Christ and follow Him, like Lucy, even when no one else around us can or wants to see Him.
  • When we try to do things our own way and not His way, it usually doens't work out too well.
  • All of us, even the High King Peter, can be tempted by the "dark side" (oops, wrong movie!)
  • Sometimes we long for proof of Christ in our life, just as Peter and Susan wish they had seen Aslan too when he appeared to Lucy.
  • God uses the meakest to be the strongest, just like Reepicheep!

In honor of all the dear Narnians I give Prince Caspian top paw ratings!

(2 hrs. 20 min) Rated PG

Monday, May 12, 2008

Making Mother's Day Memories

Hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day! Mine was a weekend extravaganza, so I thought I would take some time to recap for posterity's sake.

Friday we had a nice family movie night. We watched A Kid in King Arthur's Court. It's a cute movie and is a perfect renter for a family night. The most well known actors in it are Kate Winslet and Daniel Craig, before they had mastered the art of acting. Despite it's predictability, it was a fun film to watch with the cubs. It was quite humorous to realize that it was not at all predictable for them! Precisely why it is a kids movie.

Saturday we enjoyed a breakfast out for McD's hotcakes - a family favorite. Then we headed to Home Depot for my Mother's Day gift: flowers. We ended up with way more than flowers! Hubby decided that it was a good time to yank the dying shrubbery lining our front walk. So we picked up 4 beautiful pink azalea bushes for the front of the house, a pretty pink hydrangea bush for me that was planted under our blossoming cherry tree and a striped hosta that we put near the front stoop.

After dragging the cubs around the outdoor nursery in the chilly air for a couple hours, we took them out for pizza. This was a nice reward for their patience while we were debating over various forms of foliage.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent weeding and planting. Everyone chipped in and the place looks much better now. I can't believe that I forgot to get a before and after shot! I'll have to check the photo archives to see if I can find something to show you all for Wordless Wednesday.

The kids even got to get ice cream from the ice cream truck when it made its way through our neighborhood. Usually the answer is a big N O. They certainly deserved every little treat they got this weekend and they both put in hours of hard work. Of course, Daddy deserves the biggest thanks of all for purchasing everything, pulling up stubborn shrubs, digging holes and planting bushes til after dark! He apparently kept going after Darlin' and I headed out around 5:30 p.m. for a Junior High Youth event at our church.

Saturday evening Darlin' and I had a blast at the Fast Food Frenzy with the youth group. I drove a van full of ladies (3 adults and 3 pre-teens) through this fast food relay race. Despite our best efforts at downing particular fast food items as fast as possible, we still came in last. It was a lot of fun, though, and we look forward to doing it again in the future.

Mother's Day arrived on Sunday morning with a beautiful breakfast in bed! Eggs, toast, juice, tea and strawberries were served on a tray adorned with Buddy's homemade Mother's Day flower pot from school. I received adorable cards, my very own Webkin Himalayan kitty (which I named Hugs) and a picture compendium to the new Prince Caspian movie which premieres this week!

Our church service was wonderful with a sermon based on passages in 2 Timothy. It was a great reminder of the honor of being a mother and the importance of godly mothers in the lives of our covenant children. At one point our pastor was prompting the mothers in the congregation to ask ourselves if we are praying for our kids, teaching our kids and passing on to them the truths of Scripture. Sitting next to me, Little Buddy, having failed to catch that it was a rhetorical question, looked up at me with puppy dog eyes and whispered, "Are you?" He then broke in to a big smile and gave me a hug, which I can only assume meant that he felt that he would've answered yes. (Sniff, sniff. He was listening to the sermon and he thinks I'm a great mom! Sniff, sniff.)

I thought that it would be nice to choose one of the verses from Sunday for the memory verse for this week.

2 Timothy 3:14-15 - But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

After church we headed to Outback Steakhouse for an extraordinarily delicious meal. My mouth is watering just thinking about it right now! Once we had indulged ourselves to our satisfaction, we returned home. Daddy took a well deserved nap while the cubs and I continued to work outside. I supervised and cleaned up while the kids planted the impatiens that we received at church earlier that morning (each Mother's Day they give out little plants to all the women in the church.) The benefit of attending the later service is that there is always a huge amount of flowers leftover, so the past two years we've been able to plant a pretty little Mother's Day garden. It's amazing how many impatiens grow from just a few little plants!

For those of you who know how athletic I am NOT, this next event may come as quite a shock. Are you ready? The four of us played basketball the rest of the afternoon. Shockingly, it was pretty funny! Instead of playing PIG we played MOM and, appropriately, I won. Then we played 2 on 2 and whichever team had Dad, who stands at 6'2", easily won.

In the evening we enjoyed relaxing as a family with C.S. Lewis. First we finished reading Prince Caspian. We wanted to get that done before opening night on Friday. Check out my sidebar for an official countdown! In preparation for the new movie, I thought that the perfect way to close Mother's Day would be for us to watch the first Chronicles of Narnia movie, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. We had a blast seeing it again and it got us all psyched for the premiere of Prince Caspian this week.

All in all, it was a great day. To quote Hubby, "I think that was the funnest Mother's Day we've ever had!" I think I quite agree.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Ol' Bartering System is Back

This week we'll return to our study of Proverbs 31. In verse 18 we see a description of a business woman.

Proverbs 31:18 - She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.

Now, I don't have much of a business mind, but I've dabbled in a few projects since we've been married. For the first few years I ran a little craft business. Going to craft shows, baking goodies and making fun things occupied a lot of my time while we were living in VA, far away from family and friends. After we had our daughter, I sold Discovery Toys for a few years. Both of these ventures were quite fun and helped our family's needs at the time (occupying my time in VA and providing AWESOME toys for our new child), but they were certainly not profitable! Oh, well.

Eventually, I was able to help out in the home finance department, as well as actually use some of my degrees (imagine that!), by serving as Director of Senior High Youth Ministries at our church.

Of course, looking at the text, it isn't necessarily referring to earning money. It just states that her "trading was profitable." This makes me think of the bartering system. For many of us, this may be how we help our family the most. Do you swap babysitting duties with neighbors or friends? Saves on paying a babysitter. Do you exchange coupons with someone else? Do you have a skill that your neighbor doesn't or vice versa?

My hubby is a computer geek, as I've mentioned before. Our neighbor is not. However, he is skilled in all the plumbing, yard and handy man things you can imagine. When one of our appliances brakes, we call John. It never seems to fail that he is excited about our plight as he responds eagerly, "Great! I've got a computer problem I need fixed!" And thus our friendly neighborhood bartering system continues to this day!

A few years back I babysat my Physical Therapist's newborn. And each week I'd get some great massages and continued PT. Another time I taught Biblical Hebrew to one of the homeschoolers in our church in exchange for babysitting. The opportunities are endless if you just allow yourself to be a little imaginative.

So maybe you're like me - lacking in the business mind department. Be creative with the skills, talents and gifts with which God has blessed you and your family. Could be your neighbor has something to offer you too!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Fightin' the Frump

This morning I made a yummy shake that I thought I would share with you. This has been one of the ways that I've been fighting the frump lately. It must be working since I lost 2.2 lbs this past week. Slow and steady, steady and slow that is the way to go!

Cucumber Melon Misty:
(Can you tell I was inspired by the popular Cucumber Melon scented powders, lotions and perfumes?)

1 large cucumber pealed and quartered
2 large slices of honeydew
1 c. green seedless grapes
1/2 c. apple juice
1/2 tsp. Vitamin C powder
1/2 tsp. flax seed
1 Tbsp. Agave

Pulverize in a juicer or Vita-Mix. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

Today I finally had the opportunity to see Expelled and I gotta tell ya - it is a MUST SEE! Ben Stein does an excellent job of avoiding what could have been just-another-documentary by interspersing humor throughout the film. He does so, not only with his own dry wit, but by making creative use of old film clips to drive the points home.

I definitely appreciated the moments of levity, which helped me calm down between interviews of the many Darwinist scientists and their consistent insults toward anyone who considers the existence of God to be a plausible idea. I was amazed at how unabashedly these scientists referred to anyone who believes in Intelligent Design as "stupid and ignorant." Now, I could see them lumping me into that category as I have absolutely no scientific background, but I was appalled that they would do so quite vehemently in regard to their own peers - other scientists who are extremely intelligent! Basically, this movie revealed how much the freedom of ideas is being held hostage in numerous universities and institutions around the globe.

It was shocking to see some of the "logical" outcomes of Darwinism. Are you ready? Evolution, aliens, atheism, the Holocaust, abortion, euthanasia, Planned Parenthood, academic elitism, the suppression of freedom of inquiry, loss of free will and no hope. Just to name a few.

To see the teachers, scientists, journalists and others standing up, not necessarily for their own personal views but for the opportunity to allow debate, at the expense of their careers and reputations, was inspirational. Each of us needs to fight our own battle to have our questions asked and considered, even if they can't be answered by way of the scientific method.

I thoroughly enjoyed the explanations of the intricacies of DNA and a single cell. It was just enough to tweak my interest and remind me of how wonderfully created we are, as well as the universe in which live.

I give it:

(90 minutes; rated PG)