Photos courtesy of Ryan Prouty

Monday, September 29, 2008

Not me! Monday

All right, I am participating again in MckMama's blog carnival of denial-truth. This was too fun and was so therapeutic last week. I certainly did NOT lose a significant chunk of my day checking out many other lists of did nots last week and certainly won't repeat the same waste of time/excellent entertainment/therapy this week! I am hoping you, my blog readers will join in with your own lists. As funny as it is to read the list of a stranger, its even better when you know the person. If you don't have a blog, leave your list in my comments, and if you do, make your list on your blog and follow the link above to MckMama's blog, or click the button on my sidebar to visit her blog for directions to link your blog to hers and watch your visitor count skyrocket! I had over 120 visitors to my site last Monday!! Now for the juicy I didn'ts. I have to say this was quite the week for these:
  • I did not get ready in the semi dark to take my kids to school Friday (this will be important in a moment), get them to school and realized that I hadn't forgotten my 4 year old's lunch and school bag, have to return all the way back home and make a 2nd trip.

  • I didn't miss catching my neighbor whose daughter goes to the same school (which starts 30 minutes later for the elementary kids) by just a few seconds and have to follow her unable to get her attention to take the bags for me to save me repeating the trip. That was NOT frustrating!

  • I did not get out of my van at a stop light 2 blocks away from the school to ask her to take them the rest of the way to the school for Alayna...that would be ridiculous, right?

  • I did not make a special trip to school to take food in for Holden's first grade class to taste (part of a food group curriculum they are doing right now) because I skimmed over the instructions and didn't realize I could have sent in the food during the week, or any one of the two trips I made that morning. Not me!

  • I did not notice for the first time as I was entering the school that afternoon that I was still wearing (proudly) my Hawkeyes (Black and Gold) t-shirt and dark navy running shorts (I have the same shorts in black and navy and because I got dressed in the dark, as above, I didn't notice I had grabbed the navy ones). I wasn't still wearing them because I still hadn't gotten motivated to go run.

  • I did not end up skipping my Friday run mostly because my husband had my IPod and was out of the country with it.

  • I did not stick around at the food tasting in first grade in spite of my mismatched clothing, because that might embarrass my son.

  • I did not then proceed to the grocery store in my mismatched clothes, only to discover in the check out line that my wallet was not in my purse...wow, it was quite a day!!

  • I did not, in spite of what my last post says, fall in a pool just before picking up my boys for their dentist appointments, have to go to aforementioned dentist appointment looking like a drowned rat and end up spending 2 1/2 hours at the office for cleanings, x-rays, and application of sealants...did I mention I looked like a drowned rat? Nope, not me!

  • I did not allow special concessions for my kids just because Dad was out of the country, like swimming after dark and making TONS of noise as they put on a choreographed show for me, at which I did not cheer loudly and shoosh them at the same time! I wouldn't let my kids make that much noise in our neighborhood knowing most of our neighbors are retirees and go to bed EARLY.

  • I also did not allow them to turn our living room into a giant tent and not put everything back like they found it before Dad got home because he would definitely felt left out if he had not seen it for himself. Said tent is not STILL up in the living room. If it was, it would not look something like this:

  • I did not let my 4 year old sleep in the tent on the tile floor knowing full well she would never sleep in there by herself all night. I did not at all enjoy coming to her rescue at 5:20 am, and carrying her scared but sleepy body to her bed and tucking her back in with hugs and kisses. I did not just melt inside as her little arms clung tightly to my neck.

  • I am not gossiping or tattling on my husband (because I told him to his face I was including this story in my post), but he was telling me about his trip (BTW, I was NOT so happy he came home last night), and was telling me about some really good cake he had and that for some reason he didn't finish. He set it down on the kitchen counter and went back to it about 1 1/2 hours later to find ants on the plate. He certainly did not brush off the ants and share the cake with his friend John anyway!!

So how about you...what have you NOT been up to?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Another fall...I am getting clumsy in my old age!

***Update below with much requested photos (not graphic...to me anyway!)

I have an oft repeated quote. It goes like this: No good deed goes unpunished. I wanted to help my friend Kate (the one whose husband is a pilot at Agape and she is a nurse) clean the house next door to her again since guests are expected tonight and we haven't been over there since Faye went by us several weeks ago. There were massive amounts of cobwebs around the pool that I was working on with a broom including many on the cage over the pool. I was working my way around the pool working over my head when I forgot about the pool widening and the sidewalk narrowing and ended up falling in...with my cell phone in my pocket. The water almost went over my head due to my surprise at finding myself in the pool and not landing on my feet, instead landing on one foot and the other knee hitting the outside of the pool, then scraping the foot and big toe on the side of the pool then into the pool as well...wearing my non waterproof flip flops (actually that was my first thought, for those stupid 75 cent things). All of this occurred about 30 minutes before time to pick up the kids from school for dentist appointments. I was laughing and climbed out and had Alayna get Kate who spotted my cell phone in my completely see through shorts pocket right away. It started being less funny then. Then, I looked down and noticed all the bleeding from my foot that was dragged so quickly into the pool. Less funny still. Kate got me some band aids and hydrogen peroxide and I stripped down to put my shirt and shorts in the dryer on the off chance they would be dry enough to not be see through anymore, wrapped a towel around me and finished the cleaning inside the house...well almost. I have to go back after supper and before tonight's baseball game to finish up and see if I can bring my cell phone back to life after it dries out on the fridge. My shorts were dry enough, drier than my shirt was anyway (thankfully it was dark red), so I yanked them on when it was time to go get the boys. I looked like a drowned rat! I felt the need to explain to Patty (the secretary) at school why I looked that way, since it was not raining! And then to everyone at the dentist's office. And of course to the kids! Well, at least I had the reassurance that I hardly know anyone in this town, so who cares what I look like, right? NO, as I am waiting an acquaintance recognizes me and says hello. It wasn't really an appropriate time and place to explain my appearance, so who knows what he was thinking!! I guess its great material for next week's Not Me! Monday... I left the bandaids in place for the photos so no one would be disturbed. You can barely see them on my toe and side of my foot. The scrape on the ankle bone didn't show up very well...I don't think I am going to get tons of sympathy from these photos! You can almost tell that my toe nail polish was nearly a total loss though...now the sympathy is flowing!!
The knee is hurting much less today since some swelling went down. There is a clear side of the pool bruise in a nice line below the scrape. Its kind of hard to take a picture of your own knee. I bet you didn't know that!!
My cell phone is working!!!! I put the battery back in and fired it up and all was well, it seemed. I did a happy dance and called my friend Marcie to chat. When I took it away from my ear, the screen no longer worked. So, I can dial and receive calls, but I can't see my phone book :( I took it back apart and back to the top of the fridge it goes for now. I know you are all on the edge of your seat, so I'll keep you posted!
I feel so much better having added pictures. That would have been 2 posts in a row without them and I just didn't sleep well last night for thinking of that!! Like the fall off the chair with my paint roller earlier this summer, I am sure the picture in your mind of the fall itself was plenty funny though!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Not me! Monday

I have decided to join this craze and I hope you are entertained! MckMama from a blog I am addicted to started this carnival (aren't I smart to know that this is what this is called?? I am sure you all are appropriately impressed) and it is spreading like wildfire! I got such a kick out of hers and reading all the comments posted by her readers of similar "I did not"s that I thought I would join as well. Here's how it goes. MckMama calls this "being brutally honest and living to tell about it". It seems easier to say that I didn't really do all of these things...

  • I did and do not continue to see my day through the eyes of my blog, taking pictures of bizarre things like my MOPS craft project, two $100 bills, and my daughter holding tomatoes because it will make a good blog story.
  • I did not compose excuses for speeding on the way home from dropping the kids at school in case I was pulled over because I really had to go to the bathroom. (By the way, sorry for the scare honey, I was not pulled over, I was just being prepared!) Everyone who knows me knows that I NEVER speed! Not me!
  • I do not nag all my friends to start blogs so I can see what they are up to after moving over 1,000 miles away this summer, nope, not something I would do!
  • I do not spend a good chunk of my morning and sometimes evening checking above mentioned blogs. (I was not so excited to add another blog to my roll just this morning!! Go Steph!!)
  • I did not ignore my chore box all last week and refile several of them into next month without doing them. (I got my cleaning system up and running and when I keep on top of it, it is very FREEING!!!)
  • I did not fall asleep at the beach yesterday and let my husband keep track of all four kids by himself. I also did not thank him profusely for being the best dad and husband to ever walk the earth!
  • I did not do 8 loads of laundry on Saturday including one which I didn't bother to sort because I was frustrated at finding the dirty clothes still in my kid's closet, under the bed, between the bed and the wall, in the bathroom, out by the pool, in the van, in the garage. Amazingly enough, I did not pink the load! Truly!
  • I did not spend several minutes thinking of ways to bribe them to bring their dirty clothes to the laundry room. Any suggestions??
  • I did not stay up to watch a movie with my husband that I really had no business watching (Bad Boys 2), but couldn't resist, until 2 am. See why I fell asleep at the beach??
  • I did not spend 2 hours Saturday night making a movie about what we did this summer on my computer's Movie Maker that only lasted 10 minutes! That would be a total waste of time, right?
  • I also did not consider playing the movie when we go home to visit in November at our church, even though there is a video with my husband in his underwear! Nope, not me!

    Okay, that was fun, but I better leave something for next Monday! I can't wait to hear your "I did not"s!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wild and woolly week

Here is how our Sunday went: we had baptisms at the beach again, so we were there FINALLY for a sunset that was not hidden behind the clouds. But, I was down at the beach without my camera, so I sprinted back up to the van to gather children and Paul for a picture. Now, who knew that the sun would fall the last few inches in seconds??? We all race back because we can see we are missing it and line up on the boardwalk. Paul takes the picture but can't force the flash to go, so we are all dark for several pictures (I'll spare you the redundancy and just post one dark picture of us!): Give me that, here is how you make the flash come on:
Now pose over there with the family members that are still standing here. Aren't the colors amazing???
A bystander has pity and takes our group shot:

I spent all day Monday and Tuesday at Agape helping get a mailing out to every Agape supporter with an update about the hurricane damage on the island and the new airplane. There were almost 6,000 letters sent out and I am pretty sure I touched half of them!! We had a fun crew of volunteers who made the work go by quickly. I had a competitive woman next to me who every time I would try to catch up to her by speeding up, would speed up as well. We had each other sweating in our seats, she folding and I stuffing and sealing the envelopes!! I never knew it could be a cardiovascular workout! I don't have any photos because Ginny would get too far ahead of me if I stopped for anything!! Somehow, I did notice Deb Pitcher's name on her envelope after I sealed it so I got to sneak a note to her on the back...be watching for that Deb!! I only really looked at the names on about 5 envelopes, so that was a pretty fun find...Ginny got way ahead as I did that though!!

Tuesday night was "Discovery Night" at the kids school. Riley had a baseball game, so Paul stayed with him while I took the others over for pizza and free smoothie samples (Pina Colada...my favorite!), and then tours of the classrooms and meeting other parents and seeing some of the work our kids had done so far this year. Alayna enjoyed some type of audio stimulus while I looked around her room:

Here is her artwork hanging on the board. I love her color scheme (obviously I love blue and brown!) and her careful coloring!! Hardly went outside the lines at all...pure genious, right??
Then, to Holden's class where I promptly forgot to take pictures, but got to watch them demonstrate the song "Head and shoulders, knees and toes" and play Five Alive which they really enjoy. I got to ask the teacher questions regarding his progress and behavior and was reassured he was doing well, except that he likes to talk (boy do I know that!).

Wednesday morning I go to the school to drop the kids and make copies for the 3rd grade teacher. I am usually done in time for Moms in Touch so I went to the meeting for the 2nd time. I really enjoy this group. There were 5 of us and we had a great discussion and brainstorming session for behavior issues and we were all encouraged by the prayer. A family recently suffered the loss of a dad and husband, so pray for them. I don't know their names.

Then, back to Agape to do more envelope stuffing until the kids got out of school. They helped with the mailing on Monday, getting the opportunity to play "Post office" in real life with real stamps and envelopes. I was surprised at their willingness to help and keep at it for over an hour. Even Alayna. Anyway, we headed home on Wednesday for some peace and quiet and homework.

Thursday was MOPS! No tears this time, no missing my friends and unable to enjoy the meeting. Did a great craft, a decorated journal. It was fun to be creative again. Even if my "remember" sticker was crooked... I also made a bookmark. The ribbon says "Home is where the heart is". It already fell out...oh well.
After MOPS we had some time to kill, so I took my friend Amy and her son Holden to the hangar to see the airplanes. Mr. Dan even let them sit in the cockpit and "drive" the plane. They loved it!
Then, I let Holden try his hand at capturing some fun photos. This is his mom, my friend Amy. Not bad for his first try!
Then my hand trying to take the camera back after the photo shoot!



Then, I went to my ladies accountability meeting, lost track of time (shocking, I know), and raced out to get the kids for Dr. appointments. Time for school physicals which were covered by insurance 100% (YEAH) and even got 2 kids immunized for the flu with the nasal mist. Will take Alayna and Holden back when we can. THEN, back to Agape to take some stitches out of a little boy's eyebrow to keep them from having to sit in the ER waiting room up in Sarasota and a lot of hassle. That was challenging since you can't very well hold down a person's eyebrow!! We got it done though and headed home.

Then, today was a breather day. I dropped off the kids at school, stopped by the grocery store, played on the computer, went for a run, did some (very little if I am honest) cleaning and laundry and headed out the door for the Friday pot luck at Agape. I spent the rest of the afternoon finishing up the mailing..seriously, this was a mammoth amount of work!! TGIF! It doesn't seem that busy when I type it up, but I left out the mundane things like making dinner, cleaning up from dinner, making lunches, studying for spelling tests, quizzes, and reading to Alayna and listening to Holden read every night. I guess you'll just have to take my word for it! I am looking forward to having my time back for me next week. I have gained a new appreciation for it! I pray you will enjoy the little things in the rush of life, the goodnight kisses, the sweet giggles of kids playing together, the leftovers that prevent another night of cooking, and the laundry basket that is never empty. Much love to you all!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I am now an official baseball mom!

We were so excited to go to Riley's first baseball game on Saturday. It was hot (shocking), and sunny, so we were glad to see shade over the bleachers. Riley had only one practice before this game, so expectations were not high. I was actually worried that he would not enjoy the game because his comment after his first practice what that it was "Boring. We didn't even get to have batting practice!" Um...you don't get to bat that many times in a game either!! So we donned the baseball equipment (special thanks to the Cupp family--we got the package of a new glove, 2 pairs of practice pants, and batting gloves that I think he wore to bed that night, just before his first practice!) and hit the field. The kids on the team are ages 7-10 and a wide variety of experience. Riley has never played and we were not sure how he would do and how the coach would determine who to play based on one practice, but it went really well. The game was very laid back and the coaches taught from the field so that it was a lot like a practice. Riley started out the game in center field and actually had a little action and knew where to throw the ball he had fielded! He is in the center of this photo: We enjoyed the game from the bleachers under the shade. Made the 90+ degrees tolerable. Here was our team's cheering section:
This is Riley after he hit a HOME RUN!!! It was pretty unbelievable. He was 4th in the batting line up and there were 2 boys on base. He got hit with a pitch in the left shoulder blade (has a baseball shaped bruise to prove it), and so the coach stepped in and pitched the next one to him which he connected with and sent deep into center field. He ran to 2nd base and the ball was overthrown so he went to 3rd and then home, bringing in 3 runs!! I didn't even think to take my camera out until it was all over! He looks pretty happy, but we were a little concerned that he would be hard on himself if he didn't do that every time at bat!
In the third and fourth innings (we only played four innings total), the coach moved everyone around and Riley was moved to 1st base (I played the same position when I played softball as a girl!). Here is a picture of him after he fielded the hit and stepped on the base to get the batter out. I thought he did really well for a kid who never played before and had only one practice!!
We are geared up for a crazy 9 weeks as he will play games on T-Th-Sat and practice on Wed nights. The other kids did really well and enjoyed cheering for Riley and his team...we will see how long until they are sick of sitting in the bleachers!

This was a welcome distraction from the horrible news from Haiti and Texas. We are praying diligently for the hurricane's victims and their families and all left behind to mourn. We would love to have you join us. We have been encouraged by a few of you who have emailed or commented. Would you consider leaving us your prayer here in our comments if you have not already?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Death in Haiti

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This weighs heavy on my heart. I just spoke to one of our missionaries (Randall) in Haiti. His village lost 58 children this week. The Haitian government opened up a dam to relieve some pressure so that thousands would not die, but as an unannounced result, these children were washed away to their deaths at about 2 in the morning, without warning. It hurts me to hear this, it brings me to tears thinking of them fighting for their lives to no avail. This missionary knew every one of these children, he served them daily. Houses completely gone, a dump truck and bus are nowhere to be found, and the children are dead.

Please pray, pray now, where you are, stop what you are doing and pray for these families, for those left behind. For this missionary and the helpless pain he is enduring. FIFTY EIGHT!!! In one village, at one time. Do you have a child in your life that you love? What if it was him? What if it was her? Who would you sue if this happened to you? These families have no recourse. But God why, why this, why them, why now, what for, tell me!?!?!? Their lives were already in wanting.

My words cannot express the pain of the ones left behind, so I will stop and let you ponder this without any further words from me. Just pray.

Paul

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Agape in the local news

Hey all, the recent hurricanes have brought attention to Agape for what they do every week, all year long. Check out the recent news coverage by clicking here for ABC News Channel 7, and Bay News 9 actally interviewed Paul! The situations in Haiti and the Dominican Republic are dire, so please continue to pray fervently for the light of Jesus to pierce through the darkness and shackles of Voodoo there, and for the missionaries who carry that message every day.

We praise God for each of you and that we have been completely missed by any severe weather. We have had 2 days of "outer rain bands" and increased wind, but that is the worst of it. We are headed to the beach tonight to get some footage of the waves that I'll post here when we get back.


video

Monday, September 8, 2008

Ridley



I know what you are thinking...we got a dog for our kids so they wouldn't miss everyone in Iowa so badly. Well, I am glad to say that you are wrong!! We are taking care of Ridley until he can fly to the Dominican Republic to be with his family. He was supposed to fly out Friday and was en route when the flight was cancelled, so we let him shack up with us. There is now a brand spanking new policy regarding dogs on the flights that will prevent this from becoming a repeat occurance!! But our kids are really enjoying this time. Ridley is a shepherd mix puppy and has stolen the hearts of all the kids! He has held me accountable to go out and run as well, since that is about the only thing that wears him out!! I am thinking I will need to borrow a dog after he leaves to keep me out there running the neighborhood!!
We have really enjoyed having Ridley here and are amazed at how he has brought a new missionary family to know about Agape Flights, then led them to John and Sarah Neisen (Agape's new Field Directors in Santo Domingo) whom they have formed a fast friendship with! Isn't He good at surprises?? Don't you just love His surprises??

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Day in the Life at Agape Flights

This is Tim. Tim is a grade school friend of Paul's who has been visiting from the Twin Cities for the past 9 days and volunteering his skills at Agape Flights. We are trying to get him to move down and take a permanent position...we'll see where God leads him! Among Tim's talents is photography and he took some pictures of the crew at the office so you could all meet them. Thanks Tim!

Paul and Tim arrive and open up the office:
Then open up the hangar doors:
From outside looking into the hangar where everyone works. The windows seen are from the offices. They look out over the hangar.
This plane left Wednesday for the island. It belongs to a (very generous) gentleman who has allowed Agape to use it for regular deliveries since the crash of their airplane just after Christmas.
This is a twin engine plane similar to the airplane being built for Agape right now!
Paul's job encompasses many duties...including making ice cubes...
and replacing the water bottle.
This is Paul's office. He is collaborating with Jennifer (she works in accounting) on a project.
This is Carol Ann. She provides secretarial support for EVERYONE!!
These are volunteers providing reception services at the front entrance. There are hundreds of volunteers who give time to help out around the hangar throughout the year. More help is always needed though!

Theresa (left) and Karen (also in accounting) work in the mail room.
Volunteers help spread the mulch that was the product of 3 trees that were recently removed from around the hangar.
We have started a Friday lunch pot luck tradition. This is the break room.
This is the May family. Dan is a pilot and the plane maintenance director, his wife Kate is a nurse. We have a lot in common and she has become an instant friend. Their 2 sons Jack (left) and Danny are with them. We hope to get some medical missions organized and serve together. They plan to relocate to Santiago, Dominican Republic, as field directors for Agape, as soon as a replacement for Dan is found.
And this is the Yannucceillo family: Jeff is a pilot also and in charge of the mail room, his wife Crystal (who is a fellow MOPS member, yeah!) and their daughters Macayla and Mariah.
This is the Mikarts family. Mark is also a pilot and the building maintenance director. His wife Kristen is a teacher and they have 2 boys Zachary and Ryan. This a picture of them from 2007 and in the background is the Agape plane that crashed last December. More on the new plane in the next post.
So, that is the end of the introductions! Sorry it has taken me so long to do that. Special thanks to Tim for making "someday" a day last week!! And also for the following fun pictures he took while he was here. Here is more of my family under the water. I love the look on Paul and Holden's faces!!

This is Alayna and Holden collecting geckos at Stacy and Yvonne's home (from our Sunday church and small group) where we spent Labor Day. They live just outside town on a couple acres and had a horse and invested the time to teach my kids to shoot a bow. The kids had a FABULOUS time...as do any kids that get to shoot things!!





So, Tim is leaving in the morning and we have not been to the beach for a sunset, so we headed out after waffle night (yes, the tradition is alive and well in Florida!) to see if we could catch a sunset. On the way we have to cross over a drawbridge and had to wait. There are 4 of these we regularly cross and rarely have to wait for it to go up, but I thought it would be fun to share the picture with you of the drawbridge up. I missed getting a picture of the huge boat that it went up for...it was so big that it had a ski boat on it for...recreation...speed...I don't know why it was needed!!!

The passing of Hurricane Gustav so close to us stirred up the waves and washed in tons of shells. They were several inches thick! We had a great time looking for pretty ones. If you look closely you can tell the difference between the pile of shells and the sand behind them.
Somehow, the clouds always figure out exactly where the sun and water are going to meet and crash their party. We have yet to see a sunset here without the clouds in front of the sun. The red on the clouds tonight was beautiful. This picture really doesn't do it justice.

We had some sunlight left to play in when we first got to the beach...
video
We had a great time with our guest and look forward to our next ones!! Who's it gonna be??