Friday, July 25, 2014

Interview With An Eight-Year-Old

I've been doing this now for many years. Never has there been an interview that was so similar to the one done the previously year. Quite a few of his answers stayed the same. I don't read him what he said the previous year so I guess he's starting to become the person he plans to be.

1. What is your favorite T.V. Show? Tank Battles
2. What did you have for breakfast? Eggs
3. What is your middle name? John.
4. Favorite Food? Macaroni and cheese
5. What food do you dislike? Pepperoncinis (This is the first year that mashed potatoes has been dropped as his least favorite food.)
6. What is your favorite color? Brown, black and green
7. Favorite lunch? Turkey sandwich
8. What is your favorite thing to do? Go surfing
9. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would it be? Turkey (Um...does anyone else find this one to be super random?)
10. Favorite sport? Surfing
11. When is your birthday? July 20
12. Are you a morning person or a night person? Both
13. Pets? A dog, a cat, a fish
14. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us? I’m having a birthday party at the beach.
15. What do you want to be when you grow up? A helicopter pilot.
16. What is your favorite candy? Cotton. (HA! This answer cracked me up!)
17. Where is the farthest place you've ever been from home? Israel
18. What is your favorite book? Laura Ingalls Wilder. I asked him which one. He replied, "The one you just finished." (That happened to be On the Banks of Plum Creek.) I'm noticing that he usually answers with whatever book we've just finished or are currently reading.
19. What are you most proud of? How fast I ran my mile.
20. What is your favorite movie? Cheaper By the Dozen. (I don't think this is actually true but he just recently watched it again so it must have come to mind first.)
21. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? The chicken. Because God had to put a chicken on the earth to lay eggs.

And, for fun, I asked him the same questions that James Lipton asks at the end of Inside the Actor's Studio.

1. What is your favorite word? Garrett
2. What is your least favorite word? Oh my God.
3. What turns you on? (I rephrased with, "What do you like?") Pizza
4. What turns you off? (I rephrased with, "What don't you like?") Blood
5. What sound or noise do you love? The sound of elephants going, "Bawereeee!” (This answer is identical to what he said last year, complete with how he made an elephant noise.)
6. What sound or noise do you hate? When Styrofoam is rubbing against something.(The sound is the same as what he said last year, he just worded it a little differently.)
7. What is your favorite curse word? Stupid
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Making pizza. (Last year it was selling pizza.)
9. What profession would you not like to do? Taking the flesh off an animal (tanning hides. He saw this on TV. On that show about the world's dirtiest jobs.)
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? (I omitted the "If Heaven exists" part)? Welcome home. Welcome to heaven, Garrett

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I'm Not Dead Yet

I'm totally still alive. For the three of you who still read this.

I think if I ever do meet my untimely death, I should request that my husband blogs a simple, "Lori died." Then, like a week later, when he's thinking about wrapping up his grief, finding a new wife and getting on with life, he can provide some details.*

Last week we were at Tahoe, soaking up the sun, eating at our favorite places, swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, and enjoying family time.

Our vacation isn't over but I don't have my laptop so I can't download my pictures. I'm also behind on things like blogging about the fact that I now have an eight-year-old. And I still need to do his birthday interview. And I need to show you a picture of the mama bear we saw with her two cubs. And our short year-round school summer is already almost halfway over and we have so much more to do. So for the three of you faithful readers, keep checking in. I'm bound to start updating you one of these days.

*My husband would totally grieve longer than a week. But I really don't expect him to. My boys would need a mother very badly so, if I ever do meet a young and untimely death, please start throwing eligible spinsters in his direction almost immediately.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

When An Outfit Goes Missing

My mom has a cousin who lives in Reno. We try to see her and her husband whenever we're at the lake. They came up yesterday and met us at the beach. After a long afternoon soaking up the hot Sierra sun, playing in the lake, kayaking and talking, we headed back to the cabin we're renting for some dinner.

At this point, Linda headed into my parents bedroom to change. 

Fast forward a couple of hours. Tom and Linda had headed home and my mom's phone rang. My mom listened and then asked, "Is anyone missing a green shirt with cars and trucks on it, black shorts and green underwear?" She was met with blank stares. She explained that Linda had found the aforementioned apparel in her belongings. We assumed someone had stuck them in her bag at the beach but none of our guys (and it was men's clothing we were talking about) would fess up. We jumped to the logical conclusion that someone near us at the beach had inadvertently put their stuff in her bag. Because none of our guys had a green shirt with cars and trucks, black shorts or green underwear.

Fast forward another couple of hours. My brother, his wife, Troy and I were sitting on the couch. My mom was in another chair. Our boys were sound asleep upstairs. My dad was in his bedroom. He came out, looked at my mom, and straight up asked, "Have you seen my gray shirt and black shorts?"

Wait. What now?

Hang on a second while I tell you that my dad is a very intelligent, very aware, very logical guy. My mom said something along the lines of, "You mean the clothes Linda took home with her?"

"No, she took home a GREEN shirt. I'm missing a GRAY shirt," my dad says.

But, y'all, GREEN and GRAY sound a lot alike over a cell phone. "Did your shirt have cars on it?" my mom asked him.

"Well, yes..."

My mom then proceeded to ask him how he didn't figure out that these were his clothes to which he explained that he'd never had them at the beach. They were folded up on his bed the entire time. I remembered that Linda had changed in his bedroom and explained that she must have accidentally picked them up.

"How did you not know that you had black shorts and a shirt with cars?" my mom wanted to know. My dad stood, staring at her, with the most baffled of looks on his face.

"My shirt IS GRAY! NOT GREEN!"

By this point the four of us on the couch are dying of hysterics. Troy, who reserves his giggle-laugh for only the most hilarious of situations, was bent in half, giggling like a school girl. My dad had to call Linda to explain that they were, in fact, his clothes that she'd gone home with and he was only just then realizing it. As he talked to her, my brother laughed so hard he had a stream of tears rolling down his cheeks. I couldn't get enough air and my stomach muscles hurt so bad I thought I was going to throw up. My mom and Heather were laughing equally as hard. 

My dad handed the phone off to my mom and Linda was laughing just as hysterically as the rest of us. He continued to defend himself based on the fact that the color description hadn't been right.

In the end, after merciless teasing from the rest of us, my dad said, "It's not my fault your cousin stole my clothes."

He was, of course, kidding, but that comment sent us right back over the edge. None of us had laughed that hard in a VERY long time and, for years to come, we will be talking about the stolen GRAY shirt, black shorts and green underwear.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Tahoe Bound

Tomorrow we're going here.

I'm pretty excited.

Wish I could bring you all with me.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Will of God

I know what we do. As humans, that is. We ask for advice from the people most likely to tell us what we want to hear. I don't know that it's even completely intentional. We're like the moth who spent a large part of yesterday's evening flapping senselessly against the side of my lamp because it couldn't withstand the temptation of the light bulb. Simply, we're drawn to the advice that makes us feel comfortable--even when that comfort is a lie.

I see it in ministry.

I see it in the people I know.

I see it in myself.

It is something that must be fought against if we are truly to act in accordance with the will of God.

I can't think of more than three ways to discern the will of God. The first is through His Word. His Word is His truth. However, in some cases, it must be carefully studied--in cultural context, in original languages, etc--to properly understand it all.

The second is through prayer. But be careful here. It's easy to accept our own leanings as the will of God. I once heard a speaker talk about discerning the will of God through prayer. She said if the answer you feel you receive isn't from you--meaning it's not the choice you would have made on your own, and it's not from the enemy--meaning it doesn't go against the Word, chances are it's from God. It's not a perfect way to figure out God's will but it usually works. For example, if I want to punch someone in the face and I pray about it and I'm restrained from physically assaulting that individual, it's from God. It goes against what I want. Satan would like nothing more than for me to start punching people. The only one in this scenario who doesn't want me to go around punching people is God. Obviously that's a completely ridiculous example but it works on deeper questions too.

The last one is through godly counsel. And here is where we have to be really careful. Godly counsel probably isn't a person who is equally as invested in the situation as you are. Godly counsel isn't the person who always tells you what you want to hear. Godly counsel comes from the people in your life who have proven themselves as seekers of the truth. Individuals who strive to know the character of God. People who can give you verses to back up their advice. And, when there are no specific verses for a certain situation, they are people who are drenching your question in prayer.

Today, in my supplemental reading, I came across this quote by Beth Moore:

"Personal difficulties cause us to lack discernment...We are wise to be careful about the decisions and assumptions we make when we are stressed. We will tend to react rather than respond. When pain is acute, we often can't discriminate properly between good and bad decisions. I can't think of a situation when godly advice is more valuable than in times of great vulnerability."

The Word, prayer, and godly advice from the people who have either provided it in the past or have proven that they will offer it soundly, are the only ways I know to discover the will of God. Simple.

And also incredibly complex.

Saturday, July 5, 2014


Listen, people. My kid turns EIGHT in two weeks and I'm having a little bit of a problem processing that. I knew it would go fast. I just didn't know it would go this fast. We're going to be out of town on his birthday so we decided to let him celebrate it early as a combination birthday party/end of the school year party. So, on Thursday, he had his very last day ever as a first grader and that night his three friends came to a sleepover.

When they got to the house we served up pizza, salad and potato chips. Then, once they'd consumed all that, they headed outside and engaged in some type of epic battle involving swords, light sabers, cross bows and shields.

Usually I hate that this state has fireworks blasting off at all hours of the night for thirty days straight because it makes my dog turn into a neurotic, shaking mess and sounds like we're under heavy military fire for a month. However, when you've got four elementary aged boys plus a brand new kindergartner, some cheap fireworks really up the "cool" factor for a birthday party.

After the fireworks came the cupcakes and presents. 80% of my child's summer wardrobe is surf related. So, chances are, every picture you see from this blessed season will either be him in a rash guard, him in a wetsuit, or him in a shirt that says SURF on it.

He got two new Nerf guns and this Flexi-Bible. He's been playing with his buddy's bible at church for months now and he asked me if I would get him his own. My friend told me the other day, "Web wants to get Garrett the Bible he has but would Garrett even want it..."

I interrupted her, "YES! He really wants it."

"You don't have enough Bibles already?" she asked.

And, I mean, we have plenty but, can one actually have too many Bibles?

You can tell from his face that he really likes it. He has also taken it in the car with him everywhere he's gone since Thursday, sleeps with it up on his bed, and declared, "I am definitely taking this one to church tomorrow."

After the presents there was more chips and all of them piled on the couch and bean bag chairs to watch Free Birds.

When the movie was over we got them ready for bed, carried the one who'd fallen asleep on the couch up the stairs, and told the other ones a dozen times to, "Turn off your voices now and go to sleep." Because, being a substitute, TURN OFF YOUR VOICES is now part of my every day vernacular.

On Friday morning it was cartoons and donuts and bananas and more epic battling in the yard.

All in all it was TOTALLY easy, TOTALLY inexpensive and my kid TOTALLY loved it.

I'm sure the parents loved me sending their precious little boys back to them hopped up on an incredible amount of sugar and sleep deprived.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wisdom From Seuss

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." -Dr. Seuss

I was snuggling my oldest boy tonight--the one who, at the end of school tomorrow, will be a second grader--and, as I smoothed his long, surfer hair across his forehead, I said, "I can't believe you're done with first grade already." Impossible because I remember, like yesterday, trying to sleep in that hospital bed with my long-awaited baby in a plastic bassinet next to me. I couldn't sleep because HORMONES and IV FLUIDS TRYING TO VACATE THE BODY and I FINALLY HAVE A BABY AND HE'S SLEEPING NEXT TO ME AND I WILL NEVER LOVE ANYTHING MORE THAN THAT TEENY LITTLE GUY. (See, I didn't yet know about teeny little guy number two who, obviously, I love equally as much because the mother's heart is amazing that way.)

That day was, inexplicably, almost eight years ago. And I am now nearly halfway to a child who is old enough to drive himself around.

He smiled at me and I said, "You're going to grow armpit hair and get married soon."

"Not soon!" he shouted.

"Soon enough."

"In a lot of years," he explained to me.

"I know, but those years go really fast if you're the grown up," I answered.

"I'm sad that I won't see my teacher again," he sighed, quietly. His teacher is taking (at least) a one year leave of absence.

"I'm going to miss her, too," I said. His teacher is really amazing and I find it hard to believe that we hit the teaching jackpot so early. I just assume that, from here on out, every year will leave me slightly disappointed. I'm super optimistic that way.

"Not as much as I will..." his voice trailed off. He turned his head into his pillow. I whispered the Dr. Seuss quote into his ear. He stayed that way, face buried, for several moments. When he lifted it, his eyes were wet and his lashes were matted. This boy-becoming-little-man who rarely cries anymore, consumed. And I can see. He's excited for summer. He isn't ready to say goodbye.

I suppose that is where I find myself continually. Excited for new chapters. Unready to move past old ones. This book, I'm reading it too fast. I can't put it down. So rich and full and wonderful. There is such a pleasure in the raising but such sadness in the knowledge that, before I know it, he will be raised.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Daily Mufasa*

I am so coveting the long, wavy, fresh from the beach, hair look. There's just one problem. I don't have wavy hair and I don't frequently frequent the beach. Okay. So that's two problems. Two really big problems. The first is a problem because I have to figure out a way to make my hair wavy in order to satisfy these deep feelings of hair lust. The second is a problem because BEACH! I MISS YOU.

Everywhere I go I find someone who has mastered this gorgeous wavy hair look. That someone is not me. There is not a single lick of body in my hair. No volume. No nothing. This is fantastic when I want my hair to be straight. It's also great because I can take a shower two seconds before I go bed and all is not lost. I wake up in the morning and my hair is the very same way I left it. Except, no longer wet. It is, however, not great when I want waves.

So I started watching tutorials on the Internet.

I've yet to master any of them.

The other night I saw a video featuring a Victoria's Secret model (wearing actual clothing and not lingerie at that precise moment) giving a tutorial on a no-heat-but-still-arrive-at-your-wavy-hair-destination technique. It involved putting a twisty bun on the top of one's head and going to bed. In the morning, ta-da, my hair would look like I was ready for a photo shoot with Victoria's Secret except that I would not actually be ready because TOO SHORT! TOO NOT QUITE PERFECT LOOKING ENOUGH! TOO HANES-HER-WAY AND T-SHIRTS! Meh. No matter. I wouldn't know exactly how to pull off Victoria's Secret model by weekday, pastor's wife by Sunday anyway.

The model in the video showed me how to do it and there was proof, right there on YouTube, that it worked. Her hair fell into perfect waves.

So I tried it. On a Saturday night. Which was dumb. Because do you know what day comes after Saturday? I do because I spend a lot of my working days with kindergartners and first graders and there are songs, y'all. Oh are there ever songs. "THERE'S SUNDAY AND THERE'S MONDAY! THERE'S TUESDAY AND THERE'S WEDNESDAY! THERE'S THURSDAY AND THERE'S FRIDAY! AND THEN THERE'S SATURDAY! DAYS OF THE WEEK! DAYS OF THE WEEK!" So I woke up on Sunday and oh my goodness I looked like the walking, human form of Mufasa. It took a lot of work to get it looking acceptable.

Once I deemed it worthy of walking out of the house without a paper bag on my head, several people told me they liked it. (But, mind you, this was after A LOT of fixing up.) I told the story about how I'd awoken my inner lion and certain people started playing "The Circle of Life" when I walked by. On Facebook I explained that I looked like Mufasa and people wanted to see the proof. I had none because I'd already fixed it.

So, like a true friend, I did it AGAIN last night so that I could wake up, take a picture, and then spend the rest of the day sporting the enormous puffy, king of Pride Rock, look. I was not amused because my hair was sort of lumpy, sort of fuzzy, and NOT AT ALL BEACHY AND SMOOTHLY WAVY which is what I was going for.


I don't want all that volume. I want chic and subtle and not HEY THERE, LET ME KAPOW YOU WITH MY CRAZY PUFF BALL. So I posted it to Facebook and do you know what happened? A ton of people started saying, "WHOA! Gorgeous!" "Check out all those waves!" "That looks great!" And sometimes you are posting a picture in the hopes that people will be like, "So great!" and validate what you might already suspect and then sometimes you are legitimately not thrilled with the misleading lingerie model. This was most definitely the latter.

People did NOT think I looked like Mufasa. But, do you know what? I simply could not look more like him. Except that, here, he is seen smiling whereas I am not.


I'm not giving up on the subtle, sleek, sun-kissed, beachy waves. But my stick straight hair is going to have to find a different way of achieving them. Also, the bun was getting in the way of my beauty sleep. We cats need a lot of it and the bun kept hitting my headboard and waking me up.

*I have to thank one, Mr. Aaron G for the inspiration for the title of this post.