Monday, June 30, 2008

I guess I'm a hag

Our house is the corner house to the entrance to our neighborhood. Since living here we have had a couple instances where teenage nuisances have annoyed us. By us I mean both Scott and I, but really me.

About a year ago there were two cars driving through our neighborhood being all loud. The stopped at the entrance, one facing in the neighborhood, the other out, and took turns throwing their glass beer bottles out the window to try to land them in the drainage ditch. Of course they missed, and glass was strewn all over the road for every car to drive over as they later would enter and exit. Lovely. So what do I do? I go out with my pad of paper and pencil and take down the license plate number of the car facing out. (in SC plates are only put on the back of vehicles.) They caught on to what I was doing and drove off... one in and one out. Well, there is only one exit, so I waited in the bushes for the one car that had to go out so I could get their license plate as well. Sure enough, eventually they came out, but not until I had proved what a stubborn hard head I was, waiting in the bushes in my p.j.s armed with a flashlight and a pad of paper and pencil.

After that incident, I got a little leery of people getting the idea that I was the neighborhood hag. I didn't want egg thrown on my house, or plastic forks poked into my grass, so I decided I would no longer confront obnoxious loud teens in that way.

Which brings us to last night. I have always said one of my favorite things about living here was being able to sleep with the windows open so many nights of the year. Last night we had the windows open to give the A.C. a break. At about 2:30 Scott and I were awakened by loud screaming and laughter coming from the neighborhood pool. Now we have posted pool hours, but I have always believed that those pool hours were almost meant to be broken by teens as the secretly took a dip. Isn't that some sort of right of passage? So it wasn't really the trespassing (they don't live in the neighborhood) that bothered me, but the loud shouting and laughing that made me furious. The more it continued I worried about my three year old girl waking up and I was truly ANGRY. I didn't want to confront them, because my thought was, "if they are so disrespectful to make so much noise, they aren't going to listen to me politely ask them to leave." And I didn't want to worry about egg or forks.

So we got the sheriff's dept. number, and called them. They came just as the loud five were getting into their cars to leave. Lights were on, and I am sure that the teens weren't happy. I don't think that they got a trespassing ticket, which is good, but I hope they won't make a habit of that.

Yes, I guess that officially makes me a neighborhood hag. When we lived on Floradora my lovely neighbor Bessie (in her late 80's) would sit on her front porch with a potato gun and shoot it at cars that went by too fast. I guess I learned from the best? :)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Looking forward to the Fourth!

I think we will have some neighbors over this Friday for the holiday. I am getting so excited about it, though I am not sure who will even be able to come. Oh well. Regardless, I am already planning the meal. Grilled hotdog and hamburgers topped with avocado and home grown tomatoes. My mom's recipe for potato salad, a pasta salad with fresh mozzarella. And hopefully Em and I can get out to the peach fields this week so that I can make a fresh peach cobbler and top it with home made vanilla ice cream. Yum! Last year we had a big freeze over Easter weekend that ruined all SC peaches, but this year I heard that they are so good!

Other than that, I am sure we will have some fireworks. Though probably relatively tame compared with some of the things we see people shoot off. There are hardly any restrictions and there are actually entire firework warehouses from which you can buy almost anything. We CA people aren't used to that (though I did grow up with Royce's big cannon-like thing at our church 4th of July party!)

So yes. Fourth of July will be great this year. I have already decided. Now I'm off to persuade our friends to ditch their families, and spend the evening with us!

P.S. On Saturday, the fifth, there is a fireworks display over the lake that we plan to go watch. Well, actually I plan on going to watch and will hopefully persuade Scott that it is a good idea so that he will come to. Happy Birthday to America!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Why I feel blessed today

1. The library. When there is nothing else to do, and funds are running low, the library is always good for a nice trip out of the house. I don't think I have ever thought specifically about the library being an indicator of the privileged country we live in, but I did today. I am thankful to have free access to so many books, and to visit there with Em.

2. Scott is home with us. Yes, he is working very hard from home to complete a video series, but he is still under the same roof. He still gets to eat his meals with us, and he still gets to tuck Emily in for her nap every afternoon when she asks. He doesn't have to run off every morning to work like so many dads do. I am so grateful to have him home again this summer.

3. Emily. Just in general I am so in love. Today at the market she asked me if we could get a watermelon. Then she asked if we could have it with dinner, like maybe with some hamburgers? Then she asked if we could have baked beans with our hamburgers, and if we could cook it all outside. This convo was very "give a mouse a cookie" style. I just love everything about her.

4. Nap time. Scott and I have always joked that nap time was the re-set button that Emily needed to be wonderful the rest of the afternoon. Well, I think that nap time is the re-set button that I need too. It gives me an average of two hours every day to do what I need to get done, or what I want to get done. Simply fabulous. Some days I take a nap myself, surely more than normal these days.

5. My birthday present. This year I asked if I could get my flute all fixed up and in good working order again. I have so enjoyed remembering how to play, and practicing some developmental pieces to get back in my game. Makes me ashamed I ever stopped, knowing how long it took me to get so good before, and now I can play only beginner stuff. Oh well. I am having a blast.

Now I have to figure out if I am going to use this free time during her nap to take my own nap, or practice my flute. Decisions, decisions! :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

To our Tower Friends

Scott and I enjoyed hanging out with our tower group so much this past week at the wedding. I don't think I realized just how much I missed everybody until we were given the opportunity to spend such a time together again. And watching everybody interact with Emily was seriously a highlight. Raising her so far away from this group of friends would make one think there would be no impact made with her interaction. But last week proved this is not the case.

She talks about the treasure she found with her friends Adam and Sarah and Heather. And Heather taking her swinging and how high she climbed on the slide. She talks about the dancing she did with Justin and Jay and Adam, and the bees she threw on everybody. She talks of the "yada" and how that candy just wouldn't come out. She talks of meeting Thomas, and how he doesn't like the cats. And she talks about Madison playing with her.

I hope that she will remember those things and remember the people who were willing to get to know her.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I got "bumped" today

So yesterday I had a lunch scheduled with my fourth grade team at Olive Garden. I realized I needed a new day planner, so I ran into Staples before heading off the the restaurant. When I walked out and into the parking lot, I had to walk around the back end of an SUV that was parked facing out right next to my mini-van.

Just as I quickly rounded the back tire and around the side, I hear this spitting sound. You know the sound. The nasty sound that comes right before a big nasty ball of spit. I couldn't slow down enough because just as my foot went down around the side of the SUV, the driver spat. Now imagine this all happening at once. At first I thought surely I had a spit ball on my foot. But no, when I looked down it was the biggest ball of gum I have ever seen, and it was stuck right on the top of my black sandal.

The entire thing was too much. I laughed so hard tears came to my eyes. The driver, who was a nice older woman in her fifties, was absolutely mortified. I think she expected me to yell or get upset with her. But when I was laughing she had no choice but to laugh too. She got a tissue out of her car and cleaned off the gum ball from my shoe, all the while the two of us laughing about how bizarre the entire situation was.

A friend of ours once gave a sermon where he talked about the "garbage in, garbage out" idea. He poured a glass of OJ and used the example that if one of us bumped the glass we would expect OJ, not iced tea, to come out. Same thing with our lives. The more we fill ourselves with God's word, the more that comes out when we are "bumped" in life.

Emily is memorizing a verse from her sunday school class. "Be kind and loving to each other. Ephesians 4:32" That is what came to my mind as I was laughing so hard. What a gift that was. I was so thankful that when I got "bumped" laughter was the first thing that came out of me. It was a reminder to me of that sermon more than three years ago, and of the way we truly reflect... if we allow ourselves to.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Jay and Becky

We leave tomorrow! I can't wait!! So I am the type that actually loves planning to pack. I love making sure to bring extra "new" and exciting toys on the plane for Emily. I love packing her matching hair bows with her dresses. I love making sure I have everything so that we are super prepared. Totally fun. (Now I don't enjoy the laundry part that has to be done prior to packing... but that is why God gave me Scott!)

But you know what has been even more fun about getting ready for this trip? When people ask me why we are going. I get this big goofy grin on my face and my shoulders raise in excitement as I tell them, "Two of our best friends are getting married, 'MY' Becky is marrying Jay, and we just can't wait because it has been a long time coming!" And if there is time and I didn't totally weird them out to begin with, I tell them all about the "Jay and Becky History." I talk about Jay being a little tipsy that first night I met Becky, and how he told me that he always thought she was really pretty, (insert a tipsy "Jay" accent on "really") and I tell the story about "Bad to the Bone... FOREVER" and the story about how Jay ruined all potential with the two guys that tried to hit on Becky and I (because that seriously NEVER happened) and about how they were roommates for awhile, totally platonic, because they just hadn't figured it out yet. (At that point I always like to point out that I had it figured out by then for them!) And I tell them about Becky moving to Colorado just to see if this could work.

And just in the process of telling this wonderful history (that could fill a history text book maybe?) I get all excited again. What fun our friends and I are all going to have as we get to share in their big day with them. The entire day will be fabulous... no, the entire week! Okay, I feel compelled to be actively packing or something!

P.S. The dresses becky picked are gorgeous too... which really helps a bridesmaid be totally excited!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Learning through people watching

So today after church the three of us went to Panera for lunch. Yummy. One of my favorite spots. It is a chain, though maintains a cafe appeal and has great food. It is normally very quiet, though full, and can be found filled with coffee drinkers and bread eaters who enjoy the newspaper.

Today was quite the exception in the corner where we sat. To the left of us on a large table was a group of five boys, one dad, and one mom. The mom and dad were not a couple, rather both had their son in the group from my observations. These boys appeared to have some sort of affiliation with a team, which I later gathered was a tennis team. They were in town for a tournament or whatever.

To be brief, let's say that all but one of these boys, all around 12ish, will grow up to become the stereotypical frat boy. Today they were obnoxiously loud. The farted, popped open their chip bag, complained about the cucumbers in the salad, and made fun of each other's interests in music. They annoyed everybody around them who longed for the typical "Panera Bread Atmosphere" but these boys couldn't have cared less.

One particular boy was being grilled by his friends after they saw he had "hollerback" on his iPod. They were relentless, and the hazing he got from his friends seemed to be blind in the eyes of his mother. She was too busy talking with the other father about the expensive private school where she sent her son, and the new mercedes her husband bought her. (Not a judgement, just an observation.)

As I listened to the talk these boys gave to the other, I began to feel sorry for him. The kids in my class would never talk like that to each other in class, and I all of the sudden prayed that they would never talk to each other like that anywhere in life. I wanted to grab this boy and tell his friends they were total punks, but like that would get him anywhere!

Then, the parents' conversation turned to the professional tennis match they had just watched where some big pro I didn't recognize made a huge blunder and lost the match. At this mention by the father, the mother turned to her son (the one being relentlessly teased by his peers) and said, "That is exactly what you did! You ruined the entire match with that same mistake, just like you did last time! You had better not do that again or you will never get a college scholarship!!"

Ahh.Shudder. I think it made me throw up in my mouth a little when I heard that. Now not only did this poor kid have punk friends, but it appeared his mom was one of "THOSE" parents. Those parents I remember from coaching swimming who took all fun away from sports and drained their children from healthy competition so that they burned out and quit long before college. Potential or not, that is no fun for some kids. It wasn't for this kid. Again I felt the desire to swoop in and save him from this entire situation. But of course I didn't. Couldn't.

But I prayed for that boy that maybe today was just an exceptionally bad day. That somewhere else in his life he had a parent/friend/teacher who talked to him appropriately, and who used words that lifted him up and encouraged. And I thought about times when I could have been that mom, either in the classroom, or as a mom myself or spouse. Not realizing how important and effecting my words are. I remember the book Choice Words that we read for professional development, and how applicable that book is to me with every interaction I have with people.

I don't know why today's interaction effected me so much, but it did. So much reflection due to such a little incedent. Maybe I need to re-read that book again. :)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Its beginning to look a lot like summer!

This is the last week of school. Good thing too. Everybody is ready to enjoy their summer. The kids are out tomorrow, my last day to sign out is Friday, and then my mom and sis arrive Saturday. The rest of the fam gets here Sunday and will stay until Tuesday, and then Mom and Sis stay till Friday. THen the following Tues. we fly out to Colorado! What a busy couple of weeks! I can't wait! It is such a blessing to know that no matter how far away we are from family and friends, that we can fly out or have people fly in to see us. I am so thankful for that. It is seriously a wonderful gift.

On another note... Em is quite the testy three year old this past couple of weeks. Scott has been the stay at home dad for a couple weeks now, and despite Emily's putting Tide detergent in the aquarium, marking her arms and legs with highlighter, breaking my african violet pot, and spilling yogurt on the carpet, it has been a great time for them! :) Em seems to crave independence so much. She is very mature in some ways, but she is obviously not old enough for me to explain that she can't do everything by herself. Right now her biggest quest for independence is to go into a public bathroom stall all by herself and have me use my own. That apparently in her world is a very big deal. So, it should be an interesting time. All this traveling will be a great time to talk with her and try out new examples of that independence.