Thursday, August 16, 2012
Posted by Jenni at 8:06 PM
Thursday, May 10, 2012
She had no real expectations except she knew she wanted to have her crab dinner at Red Lobster. I asked her what she wanted to do after dinner and I expected her to tell me she wanted to go shopping, or feed the ducks, or go to a movie, or...who knows, after all, this IS Rylee. But when I asked her what she wanted to do after dinner she looked at me like I'd lost my mind and said, "Go home and go to bed!" Haha! That would be one easy and cheap date for me! I asked her if she wanted to go shopping for a little something special, maybe buy a new movie to watch and spend the night at my house?? She said, "OH! YES! I DO!" That girl lives in the moment I guess!
I picked her up and we headed to Red Lobster. In the lobby we stopped to check out the lobster tank. There was one really big one trying to "cuddle" up to another lobster. Rylee told me, "Those lobsters are in looovvve!" LOL! We got our dinner on the table she asked the server for more to drink. When the server brought her more lemonade, she told the server, "You're really, really nice, you know that?" ;)
This is where I did her interview with the same questions the other kids answered. So for memory sake, here are her answers:
(You have to turn your kid's menu into a hat before you leave, right?)
Just before we left the restaurant, I said, "So...where do you want to shop for something fun?" She chose Target so we drove just across the road to Target. As we got into the parking lot, Rylee asked me, "Why are we here?" Ummm, didn't you just say like 2 minutes ago you wanted to go to Target? She says, "Oh yeah," and starts giggling.
We were about 20 feet inside the front door of the store and she found her special thing in the dollar section. She picked it up, said this is what I want and her name is Squishy. Here's Squishy:
Now, am I wrong, or does this look like a dog toy? I guess she had the same thought because while we were in Target shopping she asked me if Squishy was a dog toy. I told her I sure hoped it wasn't! I kept saying, are you sure that's what you want? We can go look in the toy department to see what else you might like. She said, "Okay, but I'm keeping Squishy." And so she did. I can't complain, it cost a whole $2.50 and it made her smile. See?
(Okay, that's kind of a scary smile, but that's what I got when I told her to smile if she loved her new Squishy.)
She picked out Lion King II for her new movie and we headed home. She wanted popcorn with butter for her snack so I got the popper out for the evening's entertainment. She thinks watching the corn pop is better than Disneyland! (Well, not really, but close.)
She went to bed with her movie and movie snack, and of course with Squishy right by her side, and konked out for the night as soon as her movie was done.
An easy-peasy and fun date night with just me and Rylee. Oh yeah, and Squishy too.
Posted by Jenni at 6:23 PM
Wednesday, May 09, 2012
I may not love the heat that summer brings, but there are many things about summertime that I do enjoy. Here are my Top 10 Summertime Favorites:
I love that after I get off work during the week, it's still light for hours afterward. It's like having half of a Saturday to go do things before it's dark!
I love the summer vegetables and fruits...watermelon, summer squash, strawberries and more!
Here in NorCal, you can make a picnic or grab Subway, throw it in a cooler and head to the lake for the day, or just an evening. We have some beautiful mountain beaches about 15 minutes from here (Whiskeytown), and a really nice higher mountain lake (Siskiyou) about an hour from here.
I love having the kids playing on their bikes or in the backyard until dark, reminds me of the days when I was rollerskating with friends and playing hide-and-seek in the neighborhood, sometimes until 11:00 p.m., with our parents and the neighbors sitting in the front yards in lawn chairs, sipping iced tea. (You just don't see neighbors doing that anymore, so sad. Helllooo cable TV and internet!)
It's swim suit time! Now, normally putting on a swim suit is more scary than exciting, but when you're hanging out at the lake with the family or going out on the kayak, it's worth it!
Bike Season! Need I say more? While it's hot hot hot outside right after work, it's still the season when I can can get back on my bike! But in our part of the state, you can time it so you go a little later when it's cooling down into the 80's, or even better, go on Saturday morning around 7:00 a.m. - it's beautiful then, especially along the Sacramento River.
It's light both when you wake up and when you get off work, I feel so much more energetic that way! In NoCal, it's light until 9:30 (at least) at peak time.
Summer always brings two words to mind - SUMMER VACATIONS!! Funny enough, since our kids are grown and we don't have to work around school schedules, we rarely vacation in the summer anymore. Even so, summertime always makes me start thinking about vacation and I have visions of Disneyland, cruises, a cabin in the mountains...
Summer brings sleeveless shirts, capris, sundresses and....yes...FLIP FLOPS!! While I wear my flip flops from about April (if it's not still cold and rainy) through October, I really miss them in the fall and winter!
Summer colors...flowers...shady trees...green grass...vegetable gardens. I love having our shady front and back trees with full leaves, new flowers and veggies planted, and green green grass. It's no wonder green is my favorite color, I find it peaceful and soothing!
So...there's my Top 10 Things Summertime Favorites that make me smile! What are your favorites?
Posted by Jenni at 7:20 PM
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
My date with Devon was simple and fun, just the way he chose it.
|On our way out the door!|
1. What is your favorite movie? Spiderman
2. What makes you the happiest? Seeing my family
3. What did Jesus do on the cross for you? He loved me
4. Where would you like to go on vacation? Hawaii - you get to see lots of sharks, whales and pirate ships (Gee, I never saw any of those when we went to Hawaii, I feel gypped!)
5. Who is your best friend? Michael and Weston. Oh yeah, and the girls, you know, Emily, Ally, Rylee...
6. What are you most afraid of? Tigers (He said he saw a book of animals and saw that tigers have really big, sharp teeth)
7. What is your favorite thing about yourself? I always try to keep myself clean and handsome. (His daddy sang a different story on this one when I told him.)
8. What is your favorite thing to do at home for fun? Play the Wii, but my dad doesn't let me play a lot but I love it. (He's telling on Josh here, but then I'm not sure he has a Wii at Josh's house.)
9. What is your favorite food? Orange chicken and noodles (no surprise there) and macaroni the way my dad cooks it.
10. What do you want to be when you grow up? a teacher at the YMCA, the same thing that Mr. Steve does (Mr. Steve is his after-school teacher, whom he just loves.)
After the interview he and I were chatting and he was talking about something in the future, when he's an adult. I told him he'd officially be an adult at 18, which surprised him. I asked him where he thought he'd want to live then and he said, "Ohhhh, maybe next to one of my Nana's and Papa's." (He has about 4 sets of Nana's and Papa's.) I said, "Well, that would be nice for them!" And he said, "Yeah." He looks at me out of the corner of his eyes and said, "It might be you..." Well! What an honor if I get chosen! But something tells me that living next to his Nana at 18 years old won't be foremost on his mind! ;)
Next up we went miniature golfing. He was close to choosing going to Chuck E. Cheese to play games but an angel of mercy intervened on my behalf and he chose miniature golf. He wasn't sure what it was really about but he decided he wanted to try it out.
Since it was a Thursday night, very few people were at the park so we had one whole course to ourselves. He started out like a little gentleman, politely hitting the ball, then giving me a turn, rinse and repeat. Until about....the third hole. Then he figured out he wanted his golf ball in the hole first, and it was even better if mine was in the water and he became a maniac golfer at that point! He was so fun to be with, there's nothing better than a giggling little boy!
|Devon during his "polite" golfing|
|And with the evil glint in his eye when he turned on me!|
And our date concluded because, after all, it was a school night.
|Josh with Devon before we left|
Posted by Jenni at 8:09 PM
Friday, April 20, 2012
My date with Allyson wasn't what she or I expected...it turns out she was quickly coming down with bronchitis the night we had our date. At the time, we all thought it was just her her normal seasonal allergies/asthma acting up so after a breathing treatment she was determined to go, so off we went. I asked her all through the evening if she wanted to head home and do it when she felt better but she was heartbroken at the thought, so we kept going. Had I known it was more than allergies and asthma - we would not have had this date that night. You can tell in her pictures below she just wasn't herself.
First off, just like Emily did, Allyson chose to go to All Fired Up for some pottery painting. She chose a cross to paint because Easter was just a few days away. I think Allyson has a tender feeling in her heart about the cross and what Jesus did on it for us, she seems to be one that has feelings that run deep. I knew she wasn't feeling great because between each paint coat, you have to go over to the dryer area to blow it dry and she asked me to do that part. (Poor baby...)
Next we headed to Cattlemen's for dinner. Again, I was surprised she (like Emily) hadn't chosen Red Lobster as they want crab any time they can have it! She ordered mac-n-cheese with salad and bread, but ate mostly nothing.
During dinner I did her "interview," which I'm doing with all the kids. Here are the results of Ally's interview:
1. What is your favorite movie? Happy Feet II
2. What makes you the happiest? Horses
3. What did Jesus do on the cross for you? Died to make our sins (well, maybe "take" instead of "make"?)
4. Where would you like to go on vacation? Grandma and Papa Johns (wow, they won out over Disneyland!)
5. Who is your best friend? Bella
6. What are you most afraid of? Vampires (I think Emily may have informed her of vampires - it's a subject at school in the 4th grade)
7. What is your favorite thing about yourself? That I'm kind (yes you are, Ally)
8. What is your favorite thing to do at home for fun? Play Life and Uno with my friends
9. What is your favorite food? Sweet potatoes (girl after my own heart)
10. What do you want to be when you grow up? A detective - find out mysteries with a magnifying glass
After Cattlemen's, she wanted to go to Target to get a little something instead of Barnes & Noble, the usual place they choose. Usually when you take her shopping for a toy, she agonizes over making a choice and takes a lot time to figure it out. She wants a lot of things and it's hard for her to choose just one thing (which makes her a kid, right? Or an adult? Both probably...) This time around shows how she really wasn't feeling good. She sat in the back of the cart (not her norm for just us two going together) and quickly picked a bubble wand and a new DVD and was ready to go.
This.Never.Happens. A real clue as to where the evening was heading.
We headed to my house for her sleepover and this is where things went quickly downhill. She wanted an ice cream, which she did eat all of, and she watched a movie for a bit while I was starting her breathing treatment. My nebulizer cord wasn't working, so after an hour of trying to get a working cord, I realized she just needed to go home where mommy has all the meds, etc. she might need during the night. I can do the care-taking and loving of them but, let's face it, when you're sick, no one replaces your mommy! :)
I felt so bad, she had tears rolling down her little face when I told her she wasn't going to get her overnight stay with me by herself. So.So.Sad. But...it was for the best, she was a sick little girl the rest of the week and ultimately, she ended up with bronchitis and an ear infection. (And for the few of you who asked...YES - she will be getting a do-over soon! It will be modified, but she will get another night of fun and I'll post a picture of a much healthier Allyson!)
First up, though, my date with Devon has just taken place so that post will be coming up soon, and I still have Rylee and Nate to take out on their dates! A Nana's work is never done, but what a great "job" to have!
Posted by Jenni at 8:51 PM
Monday, April 02, 2012
(If you are reading this, get a cup of tea and cozy into your recliner for the ride, this is my way of memorializing where the grandkids are in life on my blog for the future.)
My date with Emily was filled with a lot of discussion involving about 3,000 different topics such as what her favorite ride at Disneyland was last month, whether or not fairies and vampires are real, and that if something is “real,” you have to be able to see/touch/hear it or it’s not real, and much more! That should lend to some interesting discussions down the road about whether or not God and the Bible are real. She believes it 100% for now on faith, but she may be a questioner with her scientific-minded thinking. That's not all bad because I believe that she’ll have a strong faith because of it in the end, even if she questions everything
Anyone who spends time with Emily knows that she can carry on a continuous monologue with endless topics. It’s easy to “tune her out” at times because her tongue moves with the speed of her brain and you can trust me when I say, her brain moves very fast! I especially love spending time alone with her because I am able to actually listen to everything she says (okay, maybe I can listen to about 95% because I do have to pay attention when I’m driving). It’s interesting because occasionally I have to break into her monologue to ask her a question about something totally different and she stops, listens, answers me, then continues right on where she left off. Amazing! I would have forgotten what topic I was on if I had to take a break in the conversation, lol!!
Emily loves/likes everyone she meets and believes that everyone will love/like her back. She is the friend to those who get ignored, and she will approach the new person at school or church and make sure they are welcome and tell them they can sit with her. She doesn’t often see other’s shortcomings, whether or not they are popular, heavy or skinny, etc. To her, they are simply someone to be friends with and I really love that about her!
When I get these opportunities alone with her, I am able to listen and actually “hear” her and I get snippets of things that make her happy, and sometimes I hear about things that are actually bothering her. Emily is a hibernator by nature - give her a book, a computer and some quiet time and you may never see her again! So seeking her out to "hear" her can be fun, and enlightening as to what she's thinking.
I hear about things like someone at school who was mean to her and I think that’s a rarity because from what I know and see, she’s rarely ever mean to anyone so it’s hard to hear that she’s learned that someone may not like her for whatever reason they may have.
As her Nana, I want to tell her that the person is just being rude or spiteful and to avoid them, but that’s because I want to protect her against anything that hurts her. I didn’t actually say that to her, I just wanted to. Instead, we talked about the fact that we don’t live in a perfect world and not everyone treats people the way they should. We talked about how God calls us to be who He created us to be, and not what someone else thinks we should be in our lives. It gave me a chance to tell her that in God’s eyes (and in mine too) she is very, very special the way she is, and that God wouldn’t want her to try and be anything but herself.
These are the kinds of conversations that don’t often happen when you have all 4 or 5 grandkids in the car (or at home) because there are just too many things going on with that much chaos and fun happening! And that is why I love the date nights with my grandchildren.”
So, on a less serious note – here’s how date night went down! ;)
I picked Emily up at her house and we made the final decision as to what she wanted to do. As usual, she chose to dress up in a favorite dress! I gave her a few suggestions and in true Emily style, she wanted to do them all so we had to narrow it down to a few things (it was a school night, after all).
We headed out to All Fired Up so she could do a little pottery painting. She chose a horse to paint. I tried to talk her into doing a plate or cup for her snacks and hot tea she loves, but she told me no, they’d just break. So a horse it was because, of course, a pottery horse won’t break! ;)
Then we headed to Barnes & Noble to pick out a book. One book. One book out of the entire store – but this is Emily we’re talking about. She agonized over which book she wanted, and she would have bought 50 if I would let her. After about 45 minutes of carrying several around, we bought 2 books (okay, I caved and let her get 2 books). I was surprised at the 2 she picked, but my goal is to let them do the choosing…within reason. I made her put the scary, gory-looking Dracula book back! She’s had an interest lately in Dri-acula, as she puts it, I have no idea why as she’s never seen one of the movies or anything.
Then we headed for her choice for dinner. This was her most surprising choice to me because I fully expected her to opt for crab at Red Lobster - it’s about her favorite meal! But because she really, REALLY wanted to watch the next Harry Potter movie in line (she had just finished the book and she gets to watch each movie after she reads the book), she opted for …wait for it …wait for it… KFC at my house during her movie! KFC at home instead of crab, but she loved it!
I wanted to do something different this time around, so I decided to interview each of the kids on my dates with them by asking each the same 10 questions, so here are Emily’s results:
1. What is your favorite movie? Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
2. What makes you the happiest? When I get to see my friends
3. What did Jesus do on the cross for you? Died on the cross because we were more important than His life, because He loved us so much.
4. Where would you like to go on vacation? Harry Potter World in Florida (Shocking!)
5. Who is your best friend? Miss Molly and Tessa and Daisha
6. What are you most afraid of? Death – other people that die
7. What is your favorite thing about yourself? My heart (I loved that answer!)
8. What is your favorite thing to do at home for fun? Play Club Penguin or read a book or write a story.
9. What is your favorite food? Peanut butter and Crab (And yet she picked KFC!)
10. What do you want to be when you grow up? A scientist that studies the art of Christianity and religion (Wow!)
So that concludes my date with Emily. It was the simplest one I’ve had with her yet and I was a little sorry that she’s gotten old enough that she didn’t do some sudden funny thing like her last date when she went down on her hands and knees to show me her latest move in the Twister game – right at the entrance of the restaurant we were at! I have a love/hate thing for them growing older and more mature! ;)
Tomorrow night…I’m on with Allyson!
Posted by Jenni at 5:38 PM
Friday, February 24, 2012
The cause of this post? Steve got a new job this week that we believe is an answer to 4 1/2 years of prayers.
The odds felt against us because of our current terrible economy. But we don't serve a God who deals with the odds.
Unemployment is rampant and good jobs scarce, and it felt impossible. But we don't serve a God who even knows the word impossible.
And so God answered those prayers in a mighty way for us. This week Steve was offered a job that, it appears, suits him perfectly. He's no longer dealing with the ups and downs of commission sales, he's fully salaried. With benefits, bonus plan, and a great schedule.
In the last 4 1/2 years, he endured a total of 16 months of unemployment...a banking job that was a nightmare...and a sales job for phone book advertising to customers that mostly did not want to see him come through the door - all they saw was another salesman taking up their time. It was totally not a fit for him, mostly commission (not pretty in this economy) and therefore, also highly stressful. (He was happy to have this job though, as it was better than unemployment.)
And yet...we are thankful for all that happened during that time.
We're thankful because as much as God had to drag me kicking and screaming through the City of Pity where I was then residing (also known as my Egypt), I learned some things. And just maybe, that was His purpose? I admit one thing here though...I didn't want to learn what He taught me.
I looked back at a few of my blog posts during this time, and I could actually see the progress I made as God drug me through my emotional battle during this time in my life. A few reflected the "why me" issues; then later, I could see the acceptance of His will, not mine. Of His time, not mine.
Looking back over this time period, I realize I thought, hey, we put in our lean years and worked to get to this point in our lives, that at our age, we were entitled to the "American Dream" we had worked years for, of being in our fifties and financially secure with an early retirement where we got to travel, play with our grandchildren, move to our dream house, and just feel comfy and cozy with our life. (Okay, this all sounds shallow, and I guess it is so I'm really putting myself out here in a show of reality.)
Instead, when we hit our fifties and found that Steve entered unemployment for the very first time in his life, and that his cancer was the cherry on top, I said, "Ummmm, excuse me God, but did you forget that this isn't how it's supposed to work?" I was being polite at that time (haha), but when he hit his second phase of unemployment, and it was for a full year, I resorted to asking him, "Hello, did you forget us or something??" It was definitely a spiritual childish moment in my life, and it wasn't just one brief moment as I struggled with it for awhile, yet in the grief of that time in our lives, it was very real. I was not in control, I couldn't "fix" it, and I felt forgotten.
But I'm thankful I had that moment because it was the beginning of learning a few things.
God really doesn't answer our prayers the way we order Him to do it. You know, like we order something at Burger King?
We aren't entitled to anything in this world. We were created for His purpose, not our own. We don't live in a perfect world, so things won't be perfect.
We learned to count our blessings, and realized they were many. We pulled together in our efforts and in cutting back if needed. And through this time, we realized we were eating...we were breathing...we were actually enjoying our lives! In short, we learned that even in the City of Pity, we...are...blessed! Shocking that we don't need as many things as we want, huh? And yet God provided abundantly, we still did some traveling, enjoyed our grandchildren, and lived life fully.
Another thing I learned was that I might as well tell God how I feel. He already knows anyway. So I did my fist-shaking, my crying and my unloading and guess what? He didn't zap me with lightening or anything! But He did restore peace, and He did bring new mercies every morning that I needed them.
And as time went by through this 4 1/2 years, I was yielding it to Him sooner rather than later, and actually adopted an attitude of amusement when some situations came up, with curiousity when I wondered just what He'd do with those opportunities that came up. I learned to say, and really believe (most of the time, anyway) that He would take care of us and that our future really was up to Him. I finally realized I didn't have the power over my life (a shock to me!), and was surprised to find that I was no longer struggling to have the power. You have no idea how much progress this was for me. I'm a bit of a control freak - just ask my husband!
So here we are today. He is between the two jobs so we're doing what anyone would do before his new job starts - we're going to Disneyland!
I feel like the Israelites must have felt coming out of Egypt - freed from slavery. But in my case, I was freed from the struggle to control God's plan for my life and to realize that I never had that control anyway. And can I hear an Amen that I don't have the power?? Now that would be scary!
I really think I appreciate our lives more. I appreciate that our health (despite the cancer) is good! I am blessed with my family! We both have jobs and don't wonder where our next meal is coming from. We are warm, dry and happy when we go to bed at night. And I know that in this world today, that is saying something so really - who am I to complain.
Now, I'm off to enjoy my Promised Land, whatever that may be!
Posted by Jenni at 9:46 PM