navygreen: (Christmas - blue)
Philip woke early this morning, and he ran to the Shoppette to get a copy of the base newspaper**.

**Side tangent: the base paper is an awesome one here. It reminds me of the hey-days of the great paper at Elmendorf AFB in Alaska. It's chock-full of stories, happenings on base, etc. It even has a TV guide in it for the upcoming week!


He got a copy of the paper, and he also picked up some grape and apple juice for breakfast. We looked at the church directory, and we decided on a Lutheran church (Missouri Synod). Services started at 11am, and so I went back to snoozeville while the boys ate breakfast and Philip showered. Once he was out, we all got ready for church.

We left in plenty of time, and thank goodness for that! Philip had thought it would be about six minutes away, but it ended up being closer to sixteen. He dropped me and the boys off at the door, and we walked in at 11 on the nose. I noticed a guest book to sign, but as soon as I picked up the pen, the organ began playing. I told the boys we'd sign it afterwards, and I ushered them inside... down to the first few rows. You know, folks always joke that Baptists sit in the back, but let me tell you - those Lutherans had left 3-4 rows empty at the front of each of the three sections, too! We sat in the third row, and Philip joined us a moment later.

The church was much larger than we'd imagined, and they were presenting their childrens' program today. It was cute, and the congregation sang along here and there. Jack got a kick out of using a hymnal again (we usually attended the Contemporary service in Nebraska), and I enjoyed singing the alto harmonies of several of my favorite Christmas hymns. The church was extensively and beautifully decorated, and I couldn't help commenting on it. A very nice couple then introduced themselves, and we chatted with them for over an HOUR after the service...

... but that was because today was Jesus's birthday party, too! The fellowship hall of the church had been decorated with balloon centerpieces on every table, and each child received a birthday goodie bag. The younger children received red plastic mugs, and the older children received white stone mugs. They were filled with cocoa, candy, and stickers, and everyone munched on cupcakes, frosted brownies, and ice cream. The couple we had been talking with in the sanctuary introduced us to many, many folks (there is no way I can remember all those names correctly!), and one of the youth directors joked with A.J. for a while. He was grinning from ear-to-ear, and then she introduced him to a handful of other sixth graders, too.

It was a wonderful experience, and now we'll have to decide whether we want to try a few more churches, or go ahead and commit to this warm, welcoming congregation. Even if we don't end up joining this church, I feel very blessed that God has led us to what will be a wonderful congregation to share our Christmas Eve together.

After leaving the church around 1pm, we grabbed a bite for lunch. We stopped at Barnes&Noble for a quick return, and then we headed home. With a full tummy and in the warm car, I was dozing before we reached the base again. Once home, Philip set up the air mattress for me, and I was down for a nap (around 3:30 or so).

I didn't wake until 6:30! Baby kitty had joined me for sleeps, and I think we both needed it. We had easy dinners tonight, and then after the boys went to bed, I began the wrap-fest of Christmas presents. I had intended to do it tomorrow, but I got a jump on it instead tonight. I'll run some errands tomorrow instead because I ended up finishing all the wrapping in one go - yay!

And now, it's 2am, and I'm back to bed. Here's hoping we hear from our moving company about our household goods tomorrow... *fingers crossed*
navygreen: (Shakespeare: quill)
I've been wanting to get my thoughts down on this for a few weeks, but it definitely needed some "settling" in my brain first. Our church was one of 500+ churches in the US and Canada (though the only one in our area) to sponsor Focus on the Family's Focus on Marriage Simulcast on February 28th. Philip and I attended the seminar, and I am so grateful that we did.

In preparation for the day's events, I expected to come away with new tips and techniques for improving our communication and marriage. There was SO much more, however, and the "meat" of it really sticks to my heart even now, three weeks later. Philip and I both took pages of notes (him more than me - crazy!), and I'm going to put down here a few of the things I especially want to remember and share.

This was the first marriage simulcast done by Focus on the Family, and I believe it was a large success. The stats reported for that day involved over 500 churches and included over 70,000 attendees. Even still, I was shocked to see the Family Life Center in our church not at full capacity as I had expected. In fact, I only spotted about ten couples from our own church, and in asking the coordinators during the lunch break, I learned that the 50 or so other couples were from other churches around the area - we were 1 of only 4 churches in Nebraska participating in the simulcast. Knowing that information, I was then saddened that so very few of our own congregation chose to or were able to attend. I do hope that FotF makes this a yearly event, and that attendance rises each year... and I hope we're able to make it each time!

There were five guest speakers for the day - four men and one woman. At first, I thought that was an "off" ratio, but as the day went on, I felt different. Now, this is only my personal opinion, but I feel comfortable in it: for the most part, it is usually like pulling teeth to get a man to go/come to a "marriage seminar" or anything where he might be encouraged to share his feelings. (It should be noted, though, that Philip was extremely excited about this seminar beforehand; in fact, he's the one that encouraged me to sign up for the event.) So, since you've finally managed to get all these men there, you definitely want to give them something they can relate to, something they can really hear. Having four male speakers seemed to be just the ticket, and I'm so thankful for the perfect set-up of the day.


We enjoyed lunch tucked away in a corner of the Narthex with Bill and Nancy Pierce, our Stephen Ministers, Kirsten and Mark Schenck (I've known Kirsten for years through Parents-at-Home), and another couple we were just meeting (whose names I've forgotten!). For that hour's break, it was so uplifting and inspiring to chat closely with couple with so much more marriage experience. Bill and Nancy had been married 43 years, Kirstin and Mark for 17 years, the other couple for 31 years, and then Philip and I for 10 years. Some of the candid insight was simply... amazing. :-)

When the seminar ended in late afternoon (the event had been about eight hours total), we headed home. Philip and I took a nap together, and then he headed to work for a few hours while I made dinner and readied the boys for bed. When he came home, we both tucked into bed early, feeling physically exhausted from the emotionally-charged day. We talked over several key points of the presentations, and then practically fell asleep talking - it was only just barely 10pm. The next morning, I almost didn't hear my alarm at 10am... we slept solidly for 12 hours! We scurried to get ready, and made it to church on Sunday at exactly 11am. It was a weekend of powerful connection, and we are even now still discussing things from the seminar. I know that we are so blessed to have been able to attend.
navygreen: (Me: bear)
I wash my hair every other day, usually. If I'm going out for a 'date night' or something a bit more classy, I'll wash it two days in a row so that the actual date will have "fresh" hair. But typically, I only wash my hair every other day.

That being said, I washed it yesterday morning. I went into work early for some training, and I left it down until my "usual" working hours during lunch, when I pulled it back at the nape of my neck with a scrunchie. At 2pm when I left work, I let it down again, and I wore it that way for the remainder of the day.

This morning, I woke early again, and I headed in to train once more. I was at the store by 8am, just barely awake, really, so naturally, I'd not washed my hair nor done anything with it. I took the boys with me this morning, and we headed to A.J.'s swim lessons immediately after leaving work. From that point on, I never got around to doing anything with my hair, though I had intended to put it up in a ponytail of some sort.

I had planned on washing my hair around 4pm this afternoon, in anticipation of church tonight at 5:30. As 4pm rolled around, however, I was highly unmotivated to actually do it. Since the Saturday night service at our church is very relaxed, laid-back, and with no expectations held (it's called the "Come As You Are" service, in fact), I continued lazing about. At 4:40, I fell into a crazy frenzy, deciding right that moment that I wanted to clean the boys' bathroom. Again, I pulled my hair back loosely at the nape, and I scrubbed the toilet, counters, and floor.

I was rinsing out the sponge when Philip came home from work, and he changed from his uniform into clothes for church. I finished up in the bathroom, yanked the scrunchie from my hair, and we all headed off to church then. I hadn't even bothered to check the mirror one last time before leaving. I was thinking as we drove, "Gosh, I love this service. I love that no one will care that my hair is dirty, and I love that I feel comfortable enough to come just like this - straight from scrubbing a bathroom."

We scooted into the sanctuary, grabbing a pew near the in the third row, and we became engrossed in the message. Not another thought of my hair passed my mind, until quite suddenly, as the congregation stood to sing the last song before leaving, a girl across the aisle tagged me on the arm, surprising me. (I'd been leaned into Philip, facing his direction, not hers.) She leaned in close to my ear, and said, "You have absolutely beautiful, gorgeous hair!" I smiled broadly, issued her with a heartfelt, "Thanks!" and then she quickly went back to her seat.

It just came out of nowhere! I didn't know her, didn't recognize her from the around the church before, and I was pleasantly bewildered!

Not only *did* someone notice my dirty, unwashed hair... they found it gorgeous! I was on Cloud Nine as we exited the service a minute later. :-)


Mar. 29th, 2008 12:02 am
navygreen: (Pearl Harbor)
Pastor David borrowed our copy of Pearl Harbor this afternoon, wanting to use it in this weekend's sermon.

That is my favorite movie of all time, and I'm giddy to see which part he's going to use, and how he'll tie it to his message.

I'm glad we were able to help. I've wished to replace our VHS copy with the two-disc DVD version, but we've not done it yet. Still, he was very happy we had it at all, reporting that Blockbuster was all out, and he'd not had luck finding it from anyone else.

Love that movie. Love that soundtrack. All around, just love. :-D
navygreen: (St. Patrick's Day: dragon)
After Jack's last soccer game this morning (finishing the 'season' at an even 2-2, by the way), I came home and undecorated the house from Valentine's Day. I put up St. Patrick's Day decorations on the front door and in the entry hallway. I don't have much for the holiday, though, and I still felt guilty about the gypped Easter decorations (six days just isn't enough!). So I put Easter stuff out in the living room. We're are set now for this crazy month.

Including the many impromptu Easter egg hunts we'll be doing around the house in the next few weeks. The boys love to play with the plastic eggs. I used to do the same thing with my sisters when I was younger: hide the empty plastic eggs all over the house, then have a sister hunt for them. Lather, rinse, repeat. It's just a game that never loses glory, no matter the generation of children.

I got called in to work for a bit at lunch at Runza. They were short-manned, and I helped out when Brett called. I was only there for a little over an hour, and I just went in my regular clothes. Meh - no biggie.

It was quiet tonight at church, and I'm sure the low attendance had everything to do with the absolutely GORGEOUS weather we had today. Nice, clear, and about 65° - perfect, especially after so many cold, wintery weeks. The boys wanted to sit in the front row, and this time, we agreed to their request (they ask often). We sat two rows behind them, but they behaved well. Jack was very enthusiastic with his dancing while singing, but he made the members of the band onstage smile and clap even more heartily as they sang. :-)

After church, we drove around for a while before settling on a nice dinner at Lums. We really love that place. It's so cozy, and it's owned by the family of our good friends, Brad and Ann. It's especially nice to be recognized when we walk in, and if Carole is there, she always comes out to chat with Jack (she says that Jack is the only one of Ty's friends she can remember!).

It's quiet now - everyone is asleep. After a late date night last night, Philip was up at 4am for work this morning, and he's crashed very early tonight. I've lit some candles, and I'm thinking of watching a movie and tatting a bit.
navygreen: (Suck/Blow)
Last night, about 9:15-ish, we learned there would be no school today. Why? Because the temperature is to be so low - with windchill advisory - and it is unsafe for kids that wait for buses. Hey, that works for me, as we were already finagling a way for Philip to go to work at 5am, then come home and take the boys at 8, then go back to work (so I wouldn't have to drive at all).

Extreme cold kicks my asthma into high gear. Wind makes it bad too, even when the temps aren't so frigid. But the forecast was calling for -25°, and it didn't sound lung-friendly at ALL.

Philip wanted to watch Rush Hour 3 together, and he put it in. My coughing had gotten so bad that not a full minute passed without a new attack, and after thirty minutes, I finally had to leave the room. I told him to finish it without me, and I shut myself in the humid bathroom and sucked down one more cough drop. :-(

Speaking of, I only have two cough drops left. That worries me. We also have only about 1" of milk left in the gallon... which would have been fine if it were just me home today (the only milk I planned on needing was a splash in my oatmeal), but now that the boys are home with me all day, I don't know how we'll manage. They love their milk.

I'm really going to miss Philip today. He has been wonderful this weekend and these past two days, taking care of my needs before I even fully anticipated them. He's brought me soup from all over, he's picked up my meds, bought more tissues, and he even surprised me with more Cadbury bunnies. (Like sweet tea, chocolate feels sooooo soothing on my throat.) He's taken the boys with him anytime he's run errands, and when we're all at home, he's kept both of them quiet so I could rest. He's done a couple loads of laundry, fed the kitties, and he even cleaned the litter for me ("well, I know how the litter dust makes your asthma act up, so...")

I'm gonna miss him. :-(

I'm also going to spend the day wearing my mask, I'm sure. I wore it for a large chunk of yesterday, and the house will feel even drier today. The humidistat is set as "wet" as it can be, and I don't like boiling pots of water on the stove (it leaves a ring in my cookware). So I just walk around in my pseudo-Vader mask, breathing in the sweet relief that comes from looking utterly stupid.

I was lamenting last night that I really, really didn't want to miss church tonight - especially the Lenten service. And the dinner at church was to be Sloppy Joes - a favorite. But I'm thinking that we won't actually miss church now, as the church follows the Bellevue Public Schools: when the schools shut down, the church is closed as well. I suppose that's a silver lining, right?

This entry is rambly and all over the place. Chalk that up to a middle-of-the-night coughing/sweating fit that tore me from my bed. :-/


Feb. 16th, 2008 09:49 pm
navygreen: (High)
It sucks going to church when I'm sick because then I can't sing. Tonight, even though I committed myself to not singing or talking (I whispered a few times, then wished that I hadn't), I was coughing up a storm. I practically swallowed my tongue a few times in an attempt to keep my coughs inside. I took my water bottle, of course, and I had one cough drop during the service, but I was still so dry and raw.

And I really like singing. *sigh*

The bright side is that both of the boys now sing along with all the choruses and songs. It warms my heart to hear their little voices lifted in praise. :-)
navygreen: (Easter Eggs)
Jack was not feeling so great last Wednesday, and as such, Philip stayed home with him and A.J. while I went to the first Lenten mid-week service. I made it to the 7:30pm service, and all was quiet and serene. It was a wonderful time of prayer and promise, and I felt refreshed as I left the sanctuary. I also felt excited to share the Lenten time with my family the rest of this month.

Our youth group is providing meals each Wednesday evening during the services (there are two each night), and I wrote the meals on the calendar this month. We give a small, free-will donation ($12 for a family of four) to the youth group, and the Lenten meals are their largest fundraiser each year for mission trips, etc. This past Wednesday evening's meal was a Taco Bar, and the youth group laid out an impressive spread. The boys chose crunchy tacos, Philip had two soft tacos, and I feasted on a taco salad. In addition to all the taco trimmings, there was corn, fruit salad, and a dessert bar. It was a LOT of food for just 4 bucks!

Before the meal, however, we popped downstairs to make a family craft together. During just two of the Lenten Wednesdays there are planned family activities. These can be done before or after the worship service, and before or after eating (because not all families eat dinner at the church, either). Because I needed to leave early this week to see the play with Heather, we decided to arrive right at 5pm to begin our craft. We were the second family to show up, and we chose to make jelly bean treats together.

The boys gathered the necessary supplies while Philip and I staked a table. Once we were all seated, we read a copy of the Jelly Bean Prayer aloud, each taking one line to read (yes, even Jack). Here is the poem:

Red is for the blood He gave.
Green is for the grass he made.
Yellow is for the sun so bright.
Orange is for the edge of night.
Black is for the sins we made.
White is for the grace He gave.
Purple is for His hour of sorrow.
Pink is for our new tomorrow.
A bag full of jelly beans,
Colorful and sweet,
Is a prayer, is a promise,
Is a special treat.
May the joy of Christ's resurrection
Fill your heart and bless your life.

After reading, we each took a small baggie and filled it with one each of the different-colored jelly beans. Then we tied them up with ribbons and attached a copy of the prayer to each baggie. On the back of the prayers, we each wrote the name of the person we wanted to receive our gift. Philip chose to give his to Runza, I picked our mailperson, A.J. wanted to give his to his friend Parker, and Jack was excited to give his to his friend Ty. Before we left the table, we placed our small bags together in the center of the table, and we each prayer aloud for our individual recipients. Jack's prayer was so cute: "A.J., you forgot to say Amen! Oh, and God, I pray for Ty, and I hope I get to see him real quick. Amen!"

Fast-forward a day or so, and Philip had delivered his to Runza, and A.J. had placed his special gift in Parker's mailbox a few doors down. I put my baggie into our mailbox yesterday afternoon (the mail had already come for the day, though), and I put the flag up so it would be noticed for certain. Today, as A.J. brought in the mail, he handed me a pale orange slip. I was confused for a moment, not expecting any packages currently, until I turned the paper over and read the following:

Thanks for the Jelly Bean gift - That is really neat. :-) Patty

Awww. I'm glad our mailperson appreciated her gift, and I hope it blesses her in some small way.
navygreen: (Candle)
Last week during our church service, the pastors mentioned a benefit dinner to be held today, January 27th at an art center in Omaha. Here is an excerpt of the announcement we received:

Benefit Honoring
Son of Dusty and Kenzie, Brother Deacon
Grandson of T!LC members, Don and Sue Monzingo

January 28, 2008
Hot Shops Art Center
1:00 - 4:00 PM

At 18 weeks gestation, the Stanfield's found out that Maddox has a condition known as Trisomy 18. Trisomy 18, also called Edwards Syndrome, occurs in about 1 in 3000 live babies. This condition is considered "imcompatible with life" by the medical community, with most babies dying before birth. Of those who do make it to live birth, they then typically only live a few days. However, a small number of babies (<10%) live at least one year. As you can imagine, this news was very heartbreaking for Kenzie and Dusty. They have a remarkable faith in God that has helped them through this trying time, and they know that the Lord is watching over Maddox as they continue to let him grow. With their doctor's advice, they are planning to induce labor on February 5, 2008.

Please join us in celebrating Maddox's continued growth and help raise money for medical/funeral expenses that Kenzie and Dusty continue to incur throughout this journey. Also, please know that all thoughts and prayers during this time are priceless!


But we learned last night in our church service that Maddox was born on this past week, on January 23rd. He was born at 4:45pm, and he "opened his eyes, took one breath," and then went to be with the Lord. How terribly, unimaginably sad for that Stanfield family. Truly, I can't even fathom. The tears slid down my cheek as Pastor David described how the benefit today would now be honoring little Maddox's life, rather than hoping for his continued growth.

If you are willing, please keep the Stanfield family in your prayers. Philip and I cried as we remembered them in ours last night.
navygreen: (Christmas - blue)
Today could accurately be called "Family and Friends Day." It's a much nicer way to sum up a cold Friday, I think.

This morning started off earlier than usual, as we all bundled up and headed out to the boys' school for the 'Breakfast and a Book' program. The boys munched on donuts and bananas and drank chocolate milk while Philip and I read books to them. I'd brought along a couple special books just for the occasion: Philip read a book from his childhood to A.J. (written inside the cover was his name and '1988') - it was The Christmas Day Kitten, by James Herriot. I read to Jack my favorite childhood holiday story - The Get Along Gang and the Christmas Thief (cheesy, maybe, but I loved that book!) We each finished reading the books in about fifteen minutes, so we swapped stories and read some more. Philip's story was so sad - I nearly cried as I read it to Jack! Finally, it was 8 o'clock, and time for school to begin. We waved goodbye to the boys and trudged back out to our car.

While I was at work today, [ profile] squeak_a_chu stopped by to gift me with a special ornament and some special news. It was very sweet of her. :-)

When I arrived home, I had a bundle of mail waiting, as well as two boxes from my mom. In the mail, we received five Christmas cards, including ones from [ profile] beanpop, [ profile] hp5freak, [ profile] niftybabe313 and [ profile] flyingwolf. A special thank-you to [ profile] hp5freak - she included a GORGEOUS handmade, glittery snowflake. I know how to crochet even, and I still held the flake in my hand for several minutes in awe - I haven't a clue how she made it! Thanks so much to all of you!

This evening, the boys and I picked up Philip a little bit early from work. I'd brought a change of clothes to him, and once he was ready, we all set out for the church. Tonight was Movie Night, and we bought concessions of hot dogs, popcorn, soda and snacks for dinner. We were treated to a double-feature, watching first The Star of Christmas and then The Toy That Saved Christmas (we've owned that one at home for many, many years now). In between the movies, we all sang Christmas carols together for a little intermission. It was a very nice time, and we were home by 8pm.

Once home, the boys bathed and readied for bed. I put my jammies on, and then I set to opening the boxes from my mom. The boys then joined me in the living room and read aloud the tags as they put all the Christmas gifts from the boxes underneath the tree. Our tree is quite full already - we are so blessed!

I wish for a cozy and snug weekend in the snowy weather. Tomorrow is a semi-impromptu Date Night, and we're going to use a bit of that time to finish up the stocking stuffers for the boys. Then we'll be officially done with shopping!
navygreen: (Snowflake)
We went to church very early this morning. The weather was cold and blustery, and it was gray and spitting snow (not really sticking nor amounting to anything), but we still attended early as planned. We were set to attend the 9:30am service, but on Thursday, both boys had received letters of invitation to a special family project scheduled during today's services. As we had to be home by 11am for Philip to work at Runza, we didn't have time for the project after our service, so we'd planned to go before.

And we were the very first ones there this morning! We arrived at 8:40am, and we quickly settled on making an advent candle wreath as our family project (there were three activities from which to choose). We talked and laughed as we pushed pencils into tiny squares of green tissue paper together, and we all picked a candle and base to add as well. After many minutes, we all stuck the wooden red berries in between the green papers, too.

It's a beautiful wreath. :-)

After our project was completed, Ms. Nicole (the Children's Director) came up to us and exclaimed happily, "Oh, you guys are early! Oh, and you are the ONLY ones so far to actually make your project as a FAMILY! That's so encouraging to see! We had over 50 families last night at our Saturday service, but each person made their own. Look at how beautiful your wreath is, and you made it together!"

We were bewildered. After all, the invitation had said "family project." I suppose it never occurred to us to do anything other than pick one project and do it together. *blush* But we felt good, and we'd had a nice time working together. I'd steal squares from Philip's stack of tissue, Jack would then steal from my bunch of squares, and then he'd separate the tissue for both he and A.J. to use. We all did an equal share in making our wreath, and it now sits proudly in the middle of our dining room table.

We had a light breakfast of grapes, mini doughnuts, sweet breads and muffins (provided by the church) before heading up to our service. There was no Sunday School this morning, and so the boys sat with us in the pew. The service was wonderful, and it was a peaceful, fresh-feeling start to this glorious Advent season. We ended with communion, too.

We came home, changed clothes, and Philip left for work. I heated up some lunch for myself and the boys, and then I set to baking. Today was Lacey's last day at Runza, and as a friend, I wanted to make something to let her know how much I've appreciated working with her. Philip bought the ingredients for the gift last night, and I set to work making a 'Milk Chocolate Bar Cake.' It was rich and delicious-looking (I didn't sample any), and it had TEN full-size Hershey's® candy bars in it! It was a triple-layer cake, and I finished frosting it only a few minutes before Philip returned home from work a couple hours later.

He changed clothes, and then we all headed to Runza with the cake for Lacey. We stopped at Hallmark® on the way, and I tucked in and bought her a card as well. When we arrived at the store, Lacey seemed so touched. She read the card, and we hugged for a good while. Then Philip served up very tall pieces of cake to Lacey, the boys (they split a piece - it was so big!), and the other employees there. Everyone who ate some cake said it was very good, very rich. Lacey grabbed a milk from the cooler to wash hers down, even. I'm happy it was so well-received, as I think it was my very first attempt at making a layer cake.

We chatted for a few more minutes with her, and then it was time to really say goodbye. I hugged her again, and I wished her the best of luck in her new job. She's a sweet gal, and I'll miss her.

Afterwards, we headed to the BX to pick up a video game Philip wanted, and we picked up some stocking stuffers along the way. The boys helped me to pick out goodies for the kitties' stockings, too. Then we had a snack at the BX, stopped at the commissary to pick up some orange juice and soda for Philip, and came home.

Jack and I spent an hour or so making a project for his kindergarten class, and he is very proud of it. He even used lots of glitter glue! (I really hope the big splotches dry overnight - yikes!) Then the boys had their baths, and I helped them to make a special dessert tonight with the two leftover Hershey® bars we had - S'mores! We watched the marshmallows "blow up" in the microwave, then quickly smashed a graham cracker on top while they were still hot, and the chocolate was perfectly melty and gooey in seconds. Jack even had chocolate smeared ALL over his face. :-)

I have so many things for which to be thankful.

Now it's bedtime for the boys, and I'm getting pretty tired myself. A much earlier Sunday morning routine yields a much earlier Sunday night routine, methinks. ;-)
navygreen: (High)
I've mentioned my friend Ann before in my journal, and I'm pretty sure I even mentioned when she had her new baby back in August. This baby is the very one that I tatted my first pair of baby booties for, and Ann seemed to truly appreciate the gift. I was happy that the booties went to a loving home. :-)

Fast-forward several weeks, and Ann emailed me to let me know the date of Gia's baptism. It was to be at the Saturday night service at our church, and she hoped that we could attend. I was excited to go, and the boys and I planned to attend our first night service (Philip had to work at Runza that night). I forgot to respond back to Ann's email, however, and at 2pm on the day of the service, I had a message on my machine from her, reminding me again of the baptism and hoping we could make it. She also invited us back to their house afterwards for foodstuffs and chatting.

There wasn't time to call her back by the time I got her message, as I needed to hop in the shower and get ready for church. The boys bathed, and I curled my hair, dressed up and put on make-up. I felt that Gia was special enough to deserve my best (not that she'd probably care). We got to church early because I didn't know how quickly the sanctuary filled up on Saturday nights.

We picked seats in the third row, as the first two rows were blocked off 'reserved.' I knew that was for the family. I took a few pictures of Gia's baptismal hanging, feeling especially happy because I had helped to create it (you might remember the times I've mentioned making letters for the baptismal banners). While the boys saved our seats, I decided to walk out into the lobby, hoping I could catch Ann and her family coming in and offer to take a picture or two for them (it was just getting dusky, and I knew it would be dark before the service was over). I didn't see them, but I did happen upon Ann's niece Amber, and she looked a bit lost in the Narthex. She waved happily as soon as she saw me (we've met and chatted several times before at get-togethers and such), and I walked her into the sanctuary to the reserved seats. Slowly, more family started trickling in, as well as more congregation.

True to her crazy self, Ann and family were the last to make it. They scooted in just barely before the 5:30pm service started. Their family had filled three and a half pews in the church, and the boys and I were smack in the middle of them. Her older two children, Rudi and Ty, actually came back to sit with my boys during the service. I only had to remind everyone to keep quiet during prayers a few times. ;-) I was very touched as I looked around, realizing we were the only non-related folks that were there specifically for Gia.

It was a nice baptism at the end of the service. Everyone looked very happy. Gia was beautiful in the special christening gown - a gown that had been passed down through all of the family from Brad's (Ann's husband) great-great-grandfather. The gown is 114 years old! It was dainty and edged in family crochet - just breathtaking. I took pictures from where I sat (and stood, as one part of the baptism involves the congregation standing for a bit). Afterwards, I asked Ann if she would like me to take pictures of ALL of them with their camera - three rows of family is a LOT of people! I took a few more pictures of my own, too. While I was doing so, I noticed a special little ribboned box next to the baby's carseat. I knew that box - it was the one I gave her when I presented her with the booties. Excitedly, I pulled Ann aside and asked giddily, "Oh! I see the box! Is she wearing the booties tonight then?!"

And Ann showed me that she was! Gia wore the little booties I made for her in her baptism, paired along with a gown of such amazing significance. I was so touched!

Of course, then I took some pictures of her feet. ;-)

After church, the boys and I changed clothes. Then we picked Philip up at Runza at the end of his shift, and we all headed out to Brad & Ann's house. Once again, we were surrounded by just family, but they all welcome us so easily and warmly each time - we love it there. :-)

And I have pics to share, of course.

Gia's baptism. )
navygreen: (A.J.)
I'm such a bad mom. I took these pictures eons ago - even uploaded them to my LJ scrapbook those same eons ago - but I never posted them.

I hope A.J. forgives me.

In October, A.J. attended special classes for 3rd graders in our church to receive a special Bible. These classes involved some self-study, memorization of Scripture and some play-acting. He loved the classes, and he was so excited to go in front of the congregation on October 29th to receive his Bible on stage.

And the aforementioned pics. )

We were so proud of him. He really did a fantastic job in his classes, and he can still recite the Scriptures now - over two months later!
navygreen: ('Affairs' - recap)
I worked today, as per my usual, and then the afternoon was so busy. I ate a quick lunch when I got home, and then Philip headed out to pick up A.J. from school and make a deposit for me at the bank. As soon as he arrived back at home, we all jetted off for the commissary. I needed to do a bit of grocery shopping, and I wanted to pick up a few ingredients in particular to make some barbecue meatballs for a potluck tonight.

No dice. We did get the shopping done, but the commissary was INSANE. I really don't know why it was so bad, and I'd certainly not anticipated it beforehand (if I had, we wouldn't have gone!). The checkout line was FIVE ROWS DEEP - I've never seen anything like that in my life! And then as we were trying to finally leave the commissary, we got stuck in end-of-duty-day traffic.


So we had to shift gears suddenly and make a new game plan for the evening. Philip dropped me, the boys and the groceries off at home, and then he quickly ran to Baker's to pick up a few things for the potluck. He got a pound each of macaroni & cheese, broccoli salad and honey mustard potato salad. In the meantime, I changed my shirt and picked out nicer outfits for the boys. A.J. had to perform in his school's Christmas program later, and we were going to have to leave straight from the potluck to get there in time.

We headed to the church for dinner. Tonight's potluck was not a regular church affair; rather, it was a small get-together of friends in support of little Isaac Hall. I've made mention of him before in my journal - he is the son of friends of ours, and he has leukemia. He was diagnosed last September at age 5 with this disease, and he's been in treatments pretty much all year. His cancer had been in remission for a few months, but the family learned on Dec. 5th that it was back, and it is now in his central nervous system as well. He's only six years old, and he's a sweet, sweet little boy.

It's not fair.

Tonight's potluck dinner also began a 24-hour prayer vigil for Isaac's healing. The 24 hours are divided into 30-minute segments, and there will be someone praying intently for Isaac at every moment of the day. The Hall family has said there are certain times when they can really feel our prayers, and we as friends hope that God can work miraculously through this vigil. I will be praying from 2:30-3am tonight, and I encourage any of you who want to help to lift up a prayer as well. We're hoping for a Christmas miracle!

We had to leave a few minutes early from the potluck so that we could arrive for A.J.'s concert on time. He joined his class in the auditorium, and I found seats. The program was titled, "A Rainbow Christmas," and it was short and sweet. The third grade teachers gifted the classes with matching Santa hats, and the kids wore them as they sang. It was pretty cute.

We stopped by Runza for some drinks, and then we went on to Target for a bit more Christmas shopping. I've got a few gifts to wrap tonight so that I can get them in the mail tomorrow for our nieces and nephews. The boys got ready for bed and then opened their gifts from [ profile] mostcurious. It was a busy evening, and I'm sure it won't slow down much as the week goes on!

A.J.'s Christmas program. )
navygreen: (Flake - my shirt)
Early church service this morning, lunch at various places, a stop on the way home for a gift, home for a while, then Philip to work. I'm not exactly sure what the afternoon holds, but a nap sure does sound nice. Later on, the boys and I might attend (partly) a "Ring & Sing" bell concert at our church, but we have to leave early so I can pick up our babysitter for tonight and bring her to our house. Then Philip and I will be at our Runza Christmas party, out at Wildcat Lanes in Papillion.

It should be a fun evening. Ryan is dead-set on getting me drunk, too. We'll see. ;-)

A certain local peep should be checking around her front door/steps. That's all I'm sayin.'
navygreen: (Draco - yearbook)
I'm beat.

The living room was completely unpacked last night. A.J.'s room was done early this evening, and now Jack's room is nearing completion. I'll have to sort through a few more things tomorrow afternoon once I'm home from work, and then I can call his done. It's almost midnight now, and I had to get my sleepy boys into bed!

I'm about to follow, too. Tomorrow morning is 'Christmas Crafts with Mom' at Jack's preschool, and then A.J. has drama practice (actually it's the dress rehearsal for Sunday's performances at the church). I'll be working from 11-2pm, and then I'll be unpacking some more. Tomorrow I hope to work on the kitchen and dining rooms. My real interest is in getting my office back into shape, but I realize that this room is lowest on the priority totem pole in regards to the entire family's best living spaces... so I'm diligently going through the rest of the rooms first.

hetterrific Heather popped by after she got off work early this evening, and she brought us all a yummy dinner from Sonic. We chit-chatted for a while, and she gave me a much-needed break from the afternoon/evening's unpacking. It's hard to believe we'll be turning 55 on Monday. ;-)
navygreen: (Quill)

It's, um, Sunday. We got up, bathed, went to church and came home. We played, and I got a letter written that I'd been needing to get done for a little while. We drove around for a bit and came back home. We ate dinner.

It's nighttime now. The boys are in bed, and I'm going to scrapbook for a little while, and I'm going to watch whatever it is that Philip is already watching on the TV.
navygreen: (Fall guys)
Seriously, people. I had not been online all day today, and I had to go back "skip&150" posts to catch up to where I left off last night. It is the weekend, folks - you don't usually write that much on weekend days, and I was woefully unprepared!

As it should go without saying (since I just admitted to not being online yet today), we kept ourselves pretty busy today as well. Church this morning, followed by lunch, and then on to moving the new bookcase into Jack's room and rearranging and reorganizing everything as well. I still need to figure out what I'm going to do with all this extra space in the living room/office bookcases now. There are three shelves cleared in the office bookcases, and about four shelves cleared in the living room bookcases - that's amazing! I'll have lots of room for my Creative Memories business stuff, plus another shelf for my own scrapbooks (I've long since filled up one, and I've had albums lying on top of other ones to make them fit).

Maybe I'll take pictures of the boys' rooms tomorrow? Hmm.

Other than that, I'm not feeling very post-y. I guess I'll stop for tonight.
navygreen: (Buddy Christ)
I must gush for a moment about how enamored I am with our church youth leader. Marisa Harless, the daughter of our Senior Pastor (Pastor Glenn), is the youth leader, and she is just such a joy to hear speak. She laughs with the kids, and she loves what she does - it shows. I sometimes am anxious for the boys to get to junior high, if only to be under her (though their Sunday School and classes right now are excellent as well).

Our monthly church newsletter arrived today, and it's ten full pages of wonderful information and inspiration, but my favorite part is always reading the message from the youth leader to the church. To share with you just a small fraction of why I love Ms. Harless so, I'm going to include her message here: )
navygreen: (Bear)
We woke up late this morning, so I grabbed Philip and we hopped in the shower together. I was out first, and I was nearly dressed before he emerged from the bathroom. I wore black trouser socks, black shoes, khaki pants and a black, v-neck top. While I was combing my wet hair, Philip got dressed... in black boots, khaki slacks and a black, v-neck shirt. He copied me! Then, as I was laying out A.J.'s clothes, he noticed the khaki slacks and said, "Are we all going to dress the same today?" I just shook my head and laughed at Daddy. :-)

After church this morning, we drove out to CrossRoads mall to go to Bath & Body Works®. They are having their big, semi-annual sale, and I wanted to pick up some more handsoaps (5/$10). I told my friend Jan about it at church, and she whipped out a $10 bill and handed it to me, asking me to pick some up for her as well, and "surprise" her with the scents. I picked out Moonlight Path, Country Apple, Mango Mandarin, Citrus Herb and Cucumber Melon for myself, five more soaps for her, and I also picked up a small tube of Mango Mandarin Body Cream for each of us (hey, she wanted a surprise, right?) and a small bottle of MM Bubble Bath for myself as well. (Thank you, [ profile] cateyes25 for introducing me to that scent last year!) Altogether, the thirteen items came to $57.82 - and then the cashier knocked off $30 flat for the promotion. Awesome deal!

We also stumbled across a find in the Barnes & Noble bookstore - a Thomas the Tank Engine train set designed to wrap around a Christmas tree (including Thomas and two more cars filled with presents) for 50% off. What a deal! It's motorized and plays carols, too. Jack was in heaven! A.J. picked out a dinosaur book for himself, and I checked on Dan Brown's Digital Fortress but decided against buying it since they only had the paperback version. It was $15, and the hardcover is only $19, so it's worth it to me to wait and order a hardcover version instead.

We ate lunch in the mall's dwindling food court (seriously - what happened to all the food places?!) and then came on home, dropping off Jan's stuff on the way. It's a gorgeous afternoon, and I've got the windows open. Ahhh - Sundays!


navygreen: (Default)

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