Monday, January 31, 2011

"Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel" (which means "God with us!")
Matthew 1:23

"Behold in this, the deepest mystery, and the richest mercy that ever was.
By the light of nature, we see God as a God above us;
By the light of the Law, we see Him as a God against us;
But by the light of the gospel, we see Him as Immanuel,
God with us, in our own nature and in our interest."
Matthew Henry

Friday, January 28, 2011

Put on Your Face Masks!

Grab your germ killin' gel! We got illness here! Bubba woke up this morning saying, "Mommy, I feel like I'm going to throw up!" But he didn't. He ate a little breakfast and then lay down. And then he threw up. So, we decided not to do school. I may be a task master but I'm not quite that bad. I wasn't going to make him take his spelling test from his sick bed. So, our plans for the day (which weren't many, just school) changed. Bubba slept all day, in between throwing up episodes, the littles just played nicely all day and I.... I... well, let me tell you what I did. I cleaned out drawers in the kitchen, I cleaned out my recipe book cupboard and I scrapbooked on the computer for a couple of hours. It was really nice to have a little day off. I did have to clean up vomit now and then, but it wasn't so bad. He hadn't eaten anything all day, only drank a bunch of Pedialyte. So, now I'm going to go read to them and put them all to bed. And I really hope I don't get sick because I'm building rockets with the junior highers from church on Sunday.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

I know it's a little early, but since we've been studying ancient China in history, I decided we should celebrate Chinese New Year. We read a really neat book I found in the library about Chinese New Year and then we made dragon masks, complete with brightly colored streamers. At the end of the book, there was a recipe for fortune cookies, so I thought, hey, that might be fun. They looked pretty easy to do, too!
Here's Bubba learning to use the wisk.
Everyone got a chance to try it out. I love my wisk. It is one of my favorite kitchen tools. I have two of them - a big one and a little one.

This is how the little fortune cookies turned out.
They were pretty easy to make. However, you had to fold them up when they were hot, so after they started coming out of the oven, I had to do all the work and the kids lost interest. I really wasn't ready to deal with burnt fingers. Plus, I'm just not one of those moms you read about in some blogs who love to have their kids in the kitchen with them. They post pictures of everyone smiling and covered with flour and eggs, proudly holding a plate of lop-sided cupcakes. I just can't deal with that, plus laundry and trying to get dinner on the table. I'm sorry. I know my limitations. I wasn't about to let the boys try separating eggs. But, they did get to pour in the flour. And of course, use the wisk. The first couple I made the right size, but then... as I was left alone in the kitchen I started thinkin' I didn't want to make a whole bunch of these, so they progressively got bigger and bigger until I had pancake size fortune cookies.
When they were that big and thick they didn't crisp up like the ones you get in the Chinese restaurants. Yes, they do have fortunes in them. I had the kids dictate some of them to me, but after a while I just started making up my own. Last night, they're eating them and Bubba said, "How come all these fortunes say, 'I love Jesus' on them?" Oh well! Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

Aaaack! I'm 43 years old today. This is the last year I can honestly say I'm "in my early 40's." Then, I really start getting old. I started out the day really well. I overslept. I was going to go jogging this morning, but sometime in the night, probably about the 3rd or 4th time I woke up because of Missy Lou's coughing, I convinced myself that I was sick and needed to shut my alarm off. So, I did. And instead of waking up at 5:25 to go running, I woke up about 6:30. I hate it when that happens. I really shouldn't listen to myself in the middle of the night. But I had a good lunch with a dear friend. We went to McDonald's. Which is the best place to go when you have 5 young children between the two of you, and 4 of them are boys. McDonald's is the only place where you can sit down and chat for two hours almost uninterrupted. So, that was a very good thing that's happened today.

I've had other good birthdays. One that sticks out in my mind was one of the birthdays I celebrated in Brazil. See, all my life I was envious of people with summer birthdays. They always got the bar-be-ques and the swim parties, and I got nothin'! January is a horrible month for a birthday. But, in Brazil, seeing as it's south of the equator, my birthday was in the middle of summer. So, I got to celebrate with a bar-be-que for the first time in my life. It was great. We had it in the little kiosk in the middle of our school campus. Of course there was a typical Sao Paulo thunderstorm right in the middle of it, but that was fine. I was celebrating my birthday in shorts, having a bar-be-que.

Birthdays are fun. It's nice to have a day that says, "This is the day you entered the world. What a difference that has made! We will make much of you this one day!" And, ironically, even though I convinced myself not to go running today, I am planning on getting a new pair of running shoes with my birthday money. And I will really try not to listen to myself again when I am half asleep. Nothing good ever comes of that.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Difference Between a Dating Date, and a Married Date!

Ok, when you're dating your boyfriend a date is basically like this....

You spend about 1/2 hour picking out something to wear. Take a nice long bath beforehand, put on some nice perfume, do your hair up and refresh your makeup. He picks you up and opens the car door for you and you go someplace for dinner. You look into eachother's eyes, eat slowly and discuss things like... politics, work, friends, etc. After dinner, you see a movie, or take a walk in the park, holding hands and talking about everything.

After you're married, a date is basically like this....

You run to the U-Bake Pizza shop 1/2 hour before the babysitter arrives and get the kids a pepperoni pizza. Rush home, throw something on from the closet, hoping you don't smell too bad. Glance in the mirror, spray on a little extra hairspray, yell at the kids to stop running amok and put the pizza in the oven. The babysitter arrives and the kids are going berzerk. Hubby tells them to calm down and you are frantically writing yours and his cell numbers on a sticky note because something happened to the other one. You finally make it out the door, go to the restaurant, have dinner and then go to Lowes and pick out blinds for the bedroom and wait for 1/2 an hour for the gal to cut them to fit. Then, you look at chain-saws and drive home, pay the sitter, apologize for the rambunctious behaviour of the monkeys and be glad you paid her well, say good-bye and collapse in a heap.

But, in spite of all that..... I'd much rather be married than dating!

Friday, January 21, 2011

I love Amazon!

We've started studying space this semester in our little homeschool. Second graders study earth science and space, so we did some earthy stuff in the fall and now we're on to spacy things. I have to tell you, though, this book we got from the library is awesome. A couple weeks ago when we went I got some astronomy books and Bubba asked me why I was getting them. "Because we're studying space," I said. "I hate space," was the answer. I just chuckled to myself and said, "That's what you say now!"

Well, my little I-hate-space boy has turned into an I-think-rockets-are-the-coolest-things-in-the-world boy. We've spent quite a bit of time paging through this book looking at rockets, discussing the Space Race in the 50's between Russia and the U.S. and checking out the different stages of the Saturn V rocket. That's one heck of a rocket, I must say. We've studied the space shuttle and I showed them a video of the Challenger explosion. We've been having a lot of fun and the boys are very enthusiastic. So, I'm thinkin' it's getting close to time to return this book to the library (well, I know it's time because they sent me the e-mail that says, "Return our books or we'll come to your house and chop off the protruding parts of your body!" They save those e-mails for people like me who constantly have overdue books.) So, I thought, this is a really good book. Maybe I ought to look into purchasing it. So, I surfed on over to my favorite on-line store - Amazon and looked in the used book section and found one that is in "Very Good" condition for..... drum roll please...... $0.32 plus $3.99 shipping. Shoot, that'll pay for my over-due fines and I still get to keep the book. So, I ordered it. Woohoo.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Paging the tooth-fairy! Tooth-fairy, please pick up the white courtesy phone!

Oh yes, it is exciting times in our house tonight. Duh-duh lost another tooth. It's been loose for a little while, but yesterday.... yesterday.... Oh boy. Well, Bubba tackled his brother on the lawn at Grandma and Grandpa's house, knocked him down and that tooth bled and bled and bled. Since then it's just been holding on by a sinew. It was gross. I couldn't look at it all cock-eyed like that.
Then, tonight, he decided it was coming out, so at bedtime he stood in the bathroom and worked and worked that thing till it just dropped right out. Woohoo! I guess the tooth-fairy will be making a stop at our house tonight.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Loaves and Fishes

"They said to Him,'We have here only five loaves and two fishes.' And He said, 'Bring them here to Me.' Then He ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass and taking the five loaves and two fishes, He looked up into heaven and said a blessing. Then He broke the loaves and gave them to His disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets of the broken pieces that were left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children."
Matthew 5:17-21

The past several days have not displayed my finest moments as a mother. I will not go in to the details, but there have been some incidents that I feel horribly about and even though apologies have been made, I still feel badly. I look at myself and am frustrated at how I lose my patience, think the worst of my children and say things I regret. I know this is all a product of my own sinful nature. One of the things that grieves me the most about my sin nature, aside from the fact that it is an affront to God, is that my sinfulness damages my children. Words spoken in anger hurt, and even when apologies are made, the damage is done. And that just cuts like a sword through my heart. However, I remind myself of a conversation I had with a friend once a couple of years ago. I was sharing my frustrations with myself and how I felt like a failure so much of the time. She called to my mind the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 and told me that so much of the time, what we bring is a pittance, not nearly enough to do the job required, but Jesus is faithful and will multiply our efforts so that the job will get done. I take comfort in that and continue to pray every day that God would multiply my efforts, and minimize the hurt I inadvertantly cause my children when my patience runs out. I know that in spite of my failures, God has placed these children in our home for a reason and that with His help, we will raise them in a way that pleases Him and prepares them for a joyful life in His service.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Yummy Soup Recipe

Well, here we are in the dregs of winter. All this low overcast and no rain here in the Central Valley. Kind of gloomy. But, I do have some good news. I've been doing the South Beach Diet and it's working. I've lost 7.5 lbs. since the beginning of the year and I'm very proud of myself. So, I'm on phase 2 now. For those who aren't familiar with the diet, phase 1 is the most restrictive. You cannot have anything that is starchy or made from grain, and no fruits and no sugar. It's hard, but it only lasts for 2 weeks. It's supposed to wean you from your addiction to sugar, and I have to say.... I had a very strong sugar addiction. You lose the most weight during phase 1. In phase 2 you add some more things to your diet. I can have most fruits, and 1-2 servings of whole grain products a day. I can also add carrots back to my veggie list, as well as yams. So, it's a little better. Anyhow, today I just felt like making soup and I love barley (and can eat it on phase 2) so I decided to make chicken and barley soup and it turned out wonderful, so I decided to share it with you. I'm afraid I didn't measure anything, so you just kind of have to go as the spirit leads you with the measurements.

Chicken Barley Soup
Saute' onion, mushrooms (I put in lots of mushrooms because I love love love mushrooms) and carrots in olive oil. You can either liberally sprinkle on garlic powder or add some fresh garlic to the mix while it is sauteeing. So, I let that cook for a while and then added a can of Swanson's Vegetable Broth and a can of chicken broth. Now, this is why I think it's so good. It's the veggie broth. Veggie broth has much more flavor than chicken broth. It makes whatever you're making so much better. It is more expensive than chicken broth, because as far as I know, there's no store brand. At least there isn't at Save Mart. But, in my opinion, the increase in flavor makes the expense worth it. So, make sure you use vegetable broth. Then, I put in about 1/2 a cup of pearl barley, a can of Kirkland brand canned chicken and let the whole thing cook a while until the barley is tender. That should take at least 1/2 hour. I was hungry so I ate it a little early and the barley was a little chewy, but it was still good. If it seems too thick, add water.

Now, if I was really going to enjoy myself, I would have had some homemade bread liberally spread with butter (garlic and butter are the only things I like liberal), but that's not allowed on phase 2, so I had half a sliced apple instead.

So, there you go! Yummy lunch! And easy too!
In the words of a famous ex-convict, "It's a good thing!"

Friday, January 14, 2011

I Wish Someone Else was in Charge of my Kids' Health!

My kids are generally very healthy. Back when Duh-duh was about a year old he kept getting ear infections. He had about one a week. I was on almost a first name basis with his doctor. But, then he had tubes and that took care of that. And now, they really don't get sick. Oh, they'll get that stomach bug once in a while and throw up, and sometimes they get the sniffles, but their files at the doctor's office are pretty thin. One thing, though, that Missy Lou gets occasionally is an ear infection. She gets one every year and runs this intermittant fever and gets run down and all that. But it's never been simple. See, one year she really had an ear infection, but for some reason the doctor didn't notice it (please... don't get me started!) and he sent us over for blood tests and all that, and we came in for the results and she was like, "There's nothing really definitive, we'll need to do some more tests," and I just got really worried and then I finally said, "Look in her ear one more time," and lo and behold, it was an ear infection. And then she got another ear infection one year and I kept putting off taking her in and then I finally did and they said, "Oh yes, she does have an ear infection. In fact, the ear drum is about to burst. Take this prescription and get it filled right away." And of course, I got all worked up again. She's gonna die. Her ear drum is about to burst. (of course this all has nothing to do with the fact that when I had my eye inflammation going on last year and my one eye was dilated and my GP told me to go to the ER because it could be a brain tumor. Yes, she said a brain tumor! I couldn't believe she would say something like that to me. It was not a brain tumor. It was indeed a very mysterious inflammation. But it was not a brain tumor!) Why is it that doctors make everything sound worse than it really is and get me all worked up? I do get all worked up. Being of relative good health myself, I don't know how to deal with illness. And, with my type of personality (it's either all or nothing, you're either getting an A or an F, no middle ground), you are either of excellent health, or you are dying. There's no in between. So, when my kids are showing symptoms of things, I'm never quite sure what to do.

So, all that to say, Missy Lou has been complaining about an ear ache and she's had an intermittant fever the past couple of days. I hate taking her to the doctor. What is he going to say she has now? Plus, I always wait for hours on end in a very crowded waiting room with.... well... children with runny noses. But, I just decided to suck it up and take her in and she has an outer ear infection. Nothing much. Probably should just let it go, but he gave me a topical antibiotic for her. And I left feeling a little dumb.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Cool Christmas Present!

Some Christmases you just really score with the presents and this year.... I just really scored with the presents. I have to share this one with you. It's a bird clock put out by the Audubon society. It's pretty simple, every hour instead of chimes or ding-dongs we get the chirp of a different bird. We hear the songs of the Eastern Meadowlark, the Summer Tanager, the Carolina Wren, the Purple Martin, just to name a few. It is so fun. Duh-duh has really taken a shine to this clock. He keeps track of what time it is and when it's just a couple minutes to the hour everyone has to be quiet, he turns off the radio and grabs the little book we got with the clock that tells all about each bird. Then.... we listen. The clock goes off and Duh-duh tells us all about that particular bird. I have to admit, I don't listen to it as closely as I should, so even though I hear the chirps throughout the day, I can't tell the difference between birds, but I think Duh-duh is learning them, which is really cool!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bueller..... Bueller.....Bueller.....

That was us today. We took a day off. Although I didn't take out my best friend's dad's 1961 Ferrari for a wild ride or anything. I'm not sure I could fit three booster seats in one anyway. But, we did take a day off. See, it all started the week before Christmas vacation and I was totally stressed out baking a million gingerbread houses and then 15 dozen zwiebach and then Christmas came and then we went to Disneyland and then it was New Years and then we started school last week and I caught a bad cold. And I never really just got to rest. Or get caught up. Or do a lot of things that just need some good time at the computer to do.

So, today the kids get up and Duh-duh is complaining about a tummy ache. He didn't have a fever or anything, but I just jumped all over that and declared that we must have a sick day. So, Duh-duh stayed in bed an extra couple of hours, the other two played Uno and I finished up my Children's Church curriculum project, shredded a bunch of papers (classified information, you know) and cleaned out the corner of my bedroom that had been collecting all kinds of stuff. It's been a very productive and stress-free day. Duh-duh is feeling much better, too.

And to quote the original founder of the "Day Off" Ferris Bueller, "Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it!"

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Favorite Fictional Character

On a homeschooling message board that I visit occasionally (OK, I'm there whenever I'm not doing anything else necessary to to running a homeschooling home), there was a thread about who's your favorite female fictional character and why. There were a lot of different answers. Pippi Longstockings, Anne Shirley, Scarlett O'Hara, Jo March, and a whole host of other ones who I've never heard of before. I really need to do more reading, I know. But, the problem is... whenever I have the time and quiet to sit down and read, I'll get through a few pages and then I fall asleep. Really. It's become a real problem and I'm not quite sure what to do about it. And it's not just in the evenings or at night. I'll fall asleep if I pick up a book in the middle of the afternoon. But, I digress.
My favorite fictional character is Lilly. She's the star of many different books by the children's author Kevin Henkes, including this one, which is my favorite, "Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse."
One of the reasons I love Lilly is that she is very much herself. She doesn't always stop and think about what everyone else will think about her before she does something. When I was first introduced to her in Henke's book, "Chester's Way" we learned that she wore nifty disguises and carried a water gun in her back pocket, "just in case!" Lilly also embraces life passionately and fearlessly. And she is not afraid to admit when she is wrong and apologize when necessary. I look at Lilly and see all the things I want to be. Plus, she wears awesome red cowboy boots.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ahhh, January!

I love January. It feels so good to be done with the holidays. It seems like every weekend since Labor Day we've had something going on - soccer mostly, but then just.... stuff. Well, today I finally got out into the yard and was able to do a few things. The most important thing I did was plant daffodil bulbs. Every year since we moved here I'd look around the neighborhood in the spring and see daffodils growing everywhere and say to myself, "I really need to plant daffodils this fall!" And then I never do. And then the next spring comes around and I see all the daffodils blooming and I say to myself, "I really need to plant daffodils this fall!" and so it went. Until finally this fall I was in Costco and saw these....

And I bought them and today I planted them! Here they are. All nestled snug in the ground for the rest of the winter. Aren't they cute? They've already started sprouting a little. I also found some mystery bulbs in the shed and I planted those, too. I have no idea where they came from. I know they aren't irises. They're too small for that. So, we will have a nice little surprise in a few months. And then there's this little guy right down here. She loves it when I work out in the yard because she likes to hide in the bushes and pounce on my arm when I least expect it.

So, I got my bulbs planted this afternoon, a few leaves cleaned up, a few worms chopped in half (sorry worms, but... it can't be helped!). And I tried to ignore all the hub-bub coming from down the street. The kids were playing with the neighbors and I kept hearing shouts of, "Bubba.... stop it! " etc. etc. I ignored it, pretending that I didn't know whose children those were. They need to learn to solve their own problems.
Anyhow, Hubby was outside doing his winter chores, too. He decided to work on pruning the various and sundry trees and vines on our little urban farm.

Here he is pruning our fruit salad tree. Hopefully we'll get a nice crop this year. Last year the aphids really did a number on our plum branch. So, I got my work done and came in thoroughly chilled. It's cold and damp out, but it felt good to get some work done and we'll certainly enjoy the fruits of our labors come spring!

Friday, January 7, 2011

A few of my favorite things...

You know, we all have favorite things. Maria von Trapp's favorite things were raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Among other things.

I've developed a few favorite things over the past several months. So, I thought I'd share them with you.

My first favorite thing is my new eyeliner. For so long I used pencil eyeliner, but it would always smudge and by the end of the day I had railroad tracks under my eyes. I looked horrible. But then, I found out about liquid eyeliner and how that would be the magic cure. And you know what?..... It was. I got some Maybelline Line Stilletto Liquid Eyeliner and it is wonderful. It stays in place all day. I love it. Definitely a favorite thing.

Another favorite thing is my vegetable steamer. I generally don't like appliances with only one purpose. You should have seen all the nifty gadgets I registered for when we got married, and then I (shhhh, don't tell anyone) gave them to charity a couple years later because I realized I had to store all those iced tea makers and rice steamers and... whatever else we got that was big and had only one function. I like pots. You can cook rice in them, but also oatmeal and soup and all sorts of other things. If you want a spot in my kitchen cabinets you have to be able to multi-task. Anyhow, so we got this veggie steamer, and I must say it is one of my favorite things. I just clean and dump veggies in, a little water and turn the timer on and I get perfectly steamed veggies every time.

Well, I think that's all for this segment of "My Favorite Things." For one thing, the kids are done "resting" and are running amuck (or is it amok? or amock?) and I can't think straight anymore. (Mommy, he's hitting me. Mommy.... Mommy.... slam, crash.... did you hear that? That was the door slamming. Twice. Well, at least they closed it. It's cold out there!!) For another.... I have laundry to fold. And a bathroom to clean. In other words, I have to get back to work. Chop, chop!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I have always loved cats. When I was a little girl I had this big black and white fluffy cat named Sophie. Sophie was actually a tom-cat, which we didn't know till later, but she/he was a wonderful cat. I dressed her/him up in doll clothes and pushed her/him around in a baby buggy. It was great. A live doll. I can't understand why that cat let me do all that to her/him. She/he was either a little off in the head or having a serious identity crisis.

I've had a lot of cats throughout my life, but right now we have two. This one is my cat Nikki.
Nikki is a pretty old cat. She's about nine years old, which is I have no idea how old in cat-years. I got her before we were married and she's followed me wherever we go. When we were having the house built and we lived in the double-wide (you mean, you didn't know we lived in a double-wide trailer for 5 months? Oh, the stories....) she had to live with my parents. She hated that. She got severely depressed. Really. And then when we moved her to our present house, she refused to go out of the garage for months. We think she had some sort of cat mental breakdown. It was bad. Now that we've lived here for seven years, she seems to be doing all right. She gives everyone dirty looks, though, and I'm the only one who seems to be able to pet her without her hissing at them. Missy Lou has a pretty good "Nikki hissing" imitation. But, she's a great kitty and I love her, even though she's old and crochety! Then there's Socks. She's the kids' cat. I've written about how we got her from a friend whose grandma found her on the woodpile outside of the Fastrip. She was an orphan, but now she lives with us and we love her. She's a good kitty and a great hunter. There's even a dead mouse she caught several weeks ago still outside our bedroom door because no one is willing to pick it up and throw it away. See, the cat catches things, but she doesn't eat them. I guess she's too well-fed.
So, that's about it about the pets in our life. No dogs for now. They dig. I used to have a parakeet, but it died.
Have a nice day!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Back to Normal!

I'm procrastinating. The kitchen is a mess and the kids are watching videos because Hubby is at a Session (that's what we Presbyterians call our Elder Board) meeting and I'm sitting at my computer blogging. I'm using the excuse that the meeting probably won't last long (it was specially called for a specific topic, not one of their normal monthly meetings where everyone brings their sleeping bags) and when Hubby gets home he'll probably want the computer and it would be nice if I weren't on it. But, I know that's a lame excuse. Even though it's a specially called meeting, it'll last forever. I just don't feel like getting up and doing the dishes. Have you ever had one of those days? When you really wish you weren't the one responsible for doing all that housework stuff? Well, I'll get up in a few minutes. Maybe.

Anyhow, just wanted to let you all know that I am so glad the holidays are over and we are officially back to normal. Christmas is in the attic, we're back doing school and going to Costco for regular things and I'm not baking enormous amounts of zwiebach in one day. (I think 2 days before Christmas I baked about 15 dozen. Then I passed out.) It feels really good to be back to normal.

Whatever that is.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Wonder of Disneyland

I hope you'll forgive my recent obsession with Disneyland. However, this post will not be a travelogue. I think I've given a pretty good recap of the trip without going on and on about how excited Missy Lou was about meeting Snow White and how mean the Wicked Queen was to her (the gal that played that character must have just an awful lot of fun with that), and how on every ride Duh-duh plugged his ears and burrowed his head into my side. Poor child. Hopefully the therapy bills won't be too hefty for that one. But, I do have to mention how completely amazing I find Disneyland to be. Well, first off, it is amazingly expensive. Really. I won't tell you how much we spent for our family of 5, but it was up there. First, we got the 2-Day Park Hopper Pass (which means you can go from Disneyland to California Adventure back and forth as often as you want, which was good because we really couldn't have stayed all day at California Adventure), and then the hotel (across from the park, very necessary). We brought our own breakfasts and lunches, so we only ate out one meal a day (and not at the park), but the bill for the trip was still pretty high. But then, as we were there I noticed all the things that make Disneyland so amazing (and probably so expensive). It was exceptionally clean. Seriously. I didn't see one piece of litter on the ground, and if I did spot it, 2 seconds later a park employee came up and swept it into his dustpan. There were park employees with brooms and dustpans everywhere. The bathrooms were spotless. I just think of all the people who use them throughout the day, and yet they were immaculate and smelled fresh. I even peeked under the shrubbery and behind the landscaping - not one leaf on the ground, not one weed poking up through the soil. There was probably a million lights outlining the facade of "It's a Small World" and not one of them was burned out. I looked. I looked at lightbulbs on every single ride, and they were all shining. No paint was chipped, nothing was rusty or out of place. The kids bought a small toy with some money Grandpa gave them and the clerk was very friendly, patient and cheerful. Hubby noticed that not one male employee had facial hair, hair longer than their collar or tattooes. You put all these things together and it makes for a truly exceptional experience. I've never been in a place like that before ( or at least I haven't taken the time to really notice all those things) and all of those little things really make a difference. It raises you up a notch in some way. I think that is truly the magic and wonder of Disneyland.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Glorious Day!

"Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning."
Psalm 30:5

That verse has been running through my mind all day. Probably because the sun is out and it is a glorious day. The sky wept all day yesterday, but this morning the sun just broke through and is shining like it's never even heard of rain. Everything is clean and fresh, the colors are brilliant. It is a beautiful day. Praise the Lord for the sunshine.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Things I found out about my kids on our trip!

You know, you find out a lot about people by spending a lot of time with them. I actually do spend a lot of time with my kids, so I thought I knew them pretty well. But, there are a few things I found out about them on our trip. This guy! He's extremely sensitive to sounds. He had his fingers over his ears for every single ride. He also hates anything 3-D. I had to take him out of the Muppets. But, you know what? In spite of all the lines, (we waited for over an hour for Small World and Nemo) and the rain, and the walking and the crowds and everything else he had to put up with, this child did not utter one complaint. Seriously. He didn't complain about one thing. He maintained his good humor and cheerful attitude the whole entire time. He is such a sweet-tempered child.
Then there's this guy. He whined the whole time. Wasn't satisfied with anything. Was tired. Hated standing in line. Wanted to go on that ride over there. But, he also was a very good sport about going on rides by himself. Some rides only held 2 people per car and with a family of 5, there will always be an odd man out. But, Bubba wasn't bothered by that. Or at least he didn't complain about it. He was in the Matterhorn car by himself, as well as several other rides and he didn't seem to mind.
Then, there's this girl. She had to be carried most of the time. She's also an adrenaline junkie. She was scared to death on the Matterhorn. And you know what the first thing she said when we got off it was? "I want to do that again!" She loved it.

So, it's pretty interesting taking a trip like this with your kids. You find out all kinds of things about them!