women’s group at church

Okay, so I couldn’t think of a title….
Anyway, the best thing about Tuesday is the Women’s Encouragement Group at the church. I usually appreciate it very much because:
a) only adult women allowed (okay, some teens too, but not regularly)
b) its far enough away from the house nobody can “drop in” in me
c) you can talk to people more than the 15 minutes after church on Sunday
d) we talk about anything and *everything*, you would be so surprised
e) it takes such an effort to get there.

It takes such a big effort because, if you’ve been following along, it is also Sarah’s Brownie night. Her group gets done at 7:30, while mine gets started at 7:30 and its 15 minutes away (driving, that is). So, the first thing is to arrange a drive home for Sarah, which could mean she doesn’t get home till 8 or so if she comes home with Wendy, who is also a leader.
Second, someone has to sorta be here when she gets back. I could get a babysitter, but there’s the hassle with possibly lugging kids around (what if Wendy doesn’t have the van?), and they better know how to handle a wood stove, or they’ll freeze.
So it is less of a hassle to just not go if Ron is not home. But this Tuesday, he was here. He arrived home at 4 am, but that’s beside the point….

So, Donna, who leads the group, had a surprise for some of us. Under selected seats was a sticker or piece of paper. Those who were “marked” got a prize. For no reason. I love Donna. I got a prize, it was half a dozen Hershey’s hugs. You just gotta love someone who gives chocolate!
She is alos so nice (or more organized than me) that hse called me the day before to say how much she and the group had missed my presence, since I hadn’t been there all month. She made my day, I had missed the group and that free time too, let me tell ya!
I can’t remember exactly what the lesson was about, because my mind is all over the place with the thoughts and conversations that arise. What little notes I take don’t make much sense, and are usually only verse references.
One lady had one of the verse-a-day boxes, and had prayerfully chosen a special verse for each member of the group. My verse was: “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.” When I read this out loud I added, “That’s because I’ll still be in bed.”
THe meeting uspposedly gets over at 8:30. I say “supposedly” bvecasue a few leave then to pick up their children at a youth group at another church. A few more leave at 9, probably because that’s a nice time to go nd still get stuff done before bed. Now the really good part starts.
We were talking and talking and I glanced at someone’s watch and it was 10 before 10, and we were saying how we shoudld be going soon… but one idea sparked another again, we shared some more, i shared my Relationship Revalations which they really liked, and the next thing we all knew it was 11:15!

That church is built over some time-space vortex, I know it….
And when I got home, Ron was *feigning* sleep! After I found him out (and I was so worried he’d be worried becasue i was late), I talked his ear off.

So there.

Sunday School teacher of the year

Just to let you know, I got sucked into taking the nursery class at church. Not only that, when they asked, they had gone through every body else they could. A bunch of four year olds that didn’t know me. Great. I had just settled in being past that stage.

I would highly recommend you try this, at least once.
I knew the kids were in a bad way; they had various teachers over a short span, and at that age was really confusing for them, plus a couple of hyper kids and a couple of shy kids. In the same room.
I didn’t expect to get anything resembling a lesson into their heads, I jsut wanted them to be happy to be there. Three of the kids had Moms that stayed with them. Why didn’t one of these moms take the class? Well I thought about it, and when I was them, I was jumping at the chance to try and leave the kiddies for an hour a week. 🙂
My first instincts were just to be straight with them. After all they are people too. So not only did they have to get used to a new teacher, but one who talked to them like she was interested in what they had to say. I also made a point every Sunday, to tell each one individually that I loved them, as they were leaving. No matter how much of a test they were.
This Sunday, I chucked the lesson plan. I had a large piece of cardboard I had made into a puppet theater. I set it up in the class, squirt out some liquid tempra (therefore washable) paint onto foam plates and said, “Paint whatever you want on our stage.” I got a couple of “are you really serious???” looks, but they all went at it.
Some of them wound up rubbing their hands all over the paint on the plate, then wiping it all over the puppet theater. I think they really were too busy to try to walls or anything else! I painted a tiny angel hiding near the bottom on the side, then got the kids to find it.
At snack time, they were really impressed that I actually *made* cookies, instead of buying them at the store!
One little boy never wants to do what we’re doing, or he scribbles over the work on purpose to get it out of the way. He really liked doing this, then I showed him how to do crayon rubbings with some change in my pocket. He was enthralled. I had to explain to his mother later so she wouldn’t say no when he asked for money.
Later, one particularly shy little girl said to me with shining eyes, “I’ve *never* had a teacher like you before..”

Man, the hugs and kisses are worth it…..

Oh yeah, and the moms? They’re all free to go. I’m their biggest fan, too.

Love and Marriage Explained.. Or what I’ve figured out so far.

So Wendy & I were sitting there having our usual Friday afternoon chat over a pot (or two) of tea. Lately, it seemed as though we were rehashing the same old topics, which either one of us could easily script off the top of our little heads. I certainly won’t bore you or start a fight with them here. Its just how we figure out stuff.
I’ve had a few revelations of my own over the past while, so I decided to share. Its almost a compulsion. We got real deep. Some of it was brought on by too much time by myself, Ron being away, and reading a few journals where it seemed like everyone was splitting up, but really, they were just venting. Toss in the fact that a lot of couple around this small space had split up over the past year, and you’d get really reflective too.
Part of what I figured out is this: I can function quite well without Ron around. Emergencies I can handle, repairs, childish crisies, and the everday running of the household. Good for me, back pat break. I can do it on my own, which feels great, but you know what? It sucks doing it all by yourself. Not only that, I *LIKE* having my husband around.
How many of you can say that your spouse (or significant other) is someone you like to be with, not just because you have to? I’m talking after the overwhelming passion has simmered down to a slow burn, ready to be stirred up at a moment’s notice of course.. 😉
I realized lately that a lot of people who are having problems, don’t respect one another. A lot of people talk to and/or treat their spouse in ways they wouldn’t dream of treating their boss, best friend, beer buddy, pastor etc.. You get the idea. Well, hey, you love this person, right? An oft repeated phrase in this house is to treat others the way you would like to be treated. Drives the kids nuts, of course.
Think about it for a minute: how many people have you been involved with (other than immediate family) that you have thought to yourself, “I don’t really like this person, and I certainly don’t respect them ,but I *love* them..”. How about treating people with the same respect I know you feel you deserve?

Love is great, love is wonderful. Love is a VERB.

There is no “I love you but…”

Do I love my husband? You bet I do.
I also respect him.
And not only that, I actually like him….

It sound funny when I say it, but he’s the boss of the house hold…. because I *let* him. Think about that one for a while.
So here’s a toast to the head of my household. He’s the King.
And I’m the Queen.
Long live our reign.

Can you tell he’s home? 😉

adventures in Christmas

aaahhhhhhh….. Christmas…..
It evokes warm fuzzy feelings of love, calmness, good smells and a general good time. Nothing like they show on t.v sitcoms, right?
hee hee heee ……

we’ll start with the tree: (insert wavy music and blurry flashback screen here)

Anyone who lives in this area knows we got dumped recently by *lots* of snow.

I’m talking at least a foot. The last day of school was cancelled. Addison didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, he was missing a party(so was everyone), and at school no less. The only bummer on that day was I had to wake people up to tell them they could sleep in.

Ron decided, after digging us out, that it would be a good day to drive down the road and get our tree, which he earned by fixing the computer of someone who happens to grow Christmas trees for a living. I love the barter system. Her name is Susie for future reference.
Anyway, we left the house at 4:30. this is no big deal as we only need to take a 5 minute drive. We’ll be back in plenty of time for supper, right?

We find the tree that Ron picked out in her yard. its down a hill behind her house. A small hill, but steep none the less. Good thing Ron brought rope to drag it up the hill. but wait! There’s a foot and a half of nice fluffy snow on the ground! Didn’t stop us, no siree…..

The plan was, me & Susie would pull on the rope securely fastened to the tree trunk while the men (Ron & Addison) would hoist the tree out of the snow. Wasn’t too bad until we started up the hill. Every time the men hoisted we pulled with all our womanly might… and dragged the tree right over top of Addison, landing on our butts every other time. Memories in the making right there. Did I mention the tree was almost 10 feet tall?

After grunting, groaning, bruised hands, and a few “HEY! WATCH IT!”s we got the tree up over the hill, around the house, and onto the driveway. now you may be thinking blacktop, but that’s only for rich country folks. 3 inches of churned snow.
Now here’s where we could have done something different. We decide to back the truck up over to where the tree was, by Susie’s car. hee hee, the truck decided to slip a bit, and we sorta smushed the tree between the back of our truck and souses car…. that side of the tree now faces the wall….. we get the tree on the truck, but we’re still kinda stuck. We only missed her car one more time, but we finally got out of the driveway. The sun had loooong since set. And its VERY cold.
Now the funny part 😉
When you come in our front door, there’s a landing, and you can go up the stairs, or down another flight. Either way, you’re going around a corner. A 9+ foot tree doesn’t take corners well. Good thing i was pulling again, or it would have been *me* smushed against the wall under the tree. Ron finally got a bit under and was able to push the tree up the stairs as I pulled, and the children of course were jumping up and down saying “can we decorate it now???”. We had to go through another doorway and everything within two feet of the path of the tree got knocked over.

A while back we put in French patio doors, and right in front of them we placed the tree. Darn thing blocks out all the light…. Also, when one aquires a fresh tree, one normally gives it a brisk shake whilst still out-of-doors to remove the accumulated snow. We didn’t. That thing was Heeeeaaaaaaavy! So, while dining, we listened to our beautiful tree, now standing in its place of honour, dripping snow and needles onto the Christmas tablecloth I so thoughtfully placed on the floor beforehand. Didn’t need to water it either, the snow took care of that.

We decorated it the next day (last Saturday) and I’ll spare you a play-by-play, but I will tell you we had to go buy more lights and bulbs (then found the extra bulbs later), and Ron spared me most of the holiday testiness by volunteering to put up the lights for me.

Meaghan brought me a broken ornament, “what do I do with this one?”
“Oh, its defective, leave it here on the table and we’ll fix it later if there’s more.” I says.
She happily trots off to report this new procedure to the others.
3 minutes later she trots back:
“mom…. what’s DEFECTIVE mean??”

So Sunday night was the Church Concert, of which I had to:
a) teach the nursery class Sunday morning
b) be at practice that afternoon – the one and only stage rehearsal
c) be back a 6 p.m. to direct my nursery class, mostly 4 year olds, sing in the choir, herd *my* kids, and sing a song at the end with choir backup that the piano player normally played too fast for us.

All was well, despite my class mixing up the letters they were holding ( they were supposed to spell WELCOME. One kid jumped ship 5 minutes before curtain, and another wanted to stand next to someone else *after* I gave out all the letters), I broke out in a totally nerve induced full body sweat, discovered I had the truck AND the car keys so how was Ron supposed to bring his parents in the car?? They finally made it, as Meaghan’s class finished. The piano player played on time and in key and a good time was had by all.

(brief intermission while we skip ahead to Christmas eve)

our usual Christmas tradition (between Ron & I ) is he teases and torments me with hints, and I get him something which he guesses instantly without even seeing it under the tree. yes, he did it again. Black & Decker Workmate Work Bench. He even guessed his alternate present, a tool chest I was considering. None of the kids blabbed about any present they bought us or each other.

And can you believe that earlier in the week w e went to a small mall and I gave Addison $20 and let the kids go into the Bargain Shop by themselves while I waited outside?? He got me a cutting board, by the way, and got the girls knock-off barbies “cheap ones” Sarah affectionately calls them, including one that talks. how lovely.

Meaghan promised to go to bed at 7 o’clock to hasten the one-present-before-bed ritual. Sarah drove us crazy all week with “can I put the presents I bought under the tree NOW?” which normally happens on Christmas eve. Addison was excited, but as he’s getting older he’s a little more mature about it. Not like me. I wrestled Ron to the bed screaming “whatchagetme??whatchagetme??whatchagetme??”.

we did have our traditional Scotch Eggs for supper, and since I know you’re all wondering, here’s how you make ’em:
Boil 4-6 eggs for 5 minutes. Let cool and peel.
Mix sausage meat (500g package, about a pound) with some cracker crumbs, oregano, garlic and finely minced onion (Sarah was testy over the onions). Divide this mixture into 4-6 lumps, same number as eggs. Shape each sausage lump around each egg, completely covering it. Bake at 400 for 20-30 minutes. Slice each one in half to serve. Looks impressive. Don’t forget the heart pills.

So now we’re up to Christmas day. We did good. We warned the kids last night the no-one was allowed to get up (or get us up) before the crack of dawn. That would be 7a.m. I only woke up 3 or 4 times myself…..

We woke up to Sarah’s voice telling Meaghan that it was too early to get up. it was 6:45. Meaghan trotted in to us and said “thanks for the rings in my stocking!” So we got up.
The sad part was, I realized that we hadn’t left a snack for Santa. The kids never noticed.(see below)

Now I suppose you’re all on the edge of your seats wondering how Ron tormented me this Christmas (I love it, I really do).
He said “open this package first”, and it was a box of ferrero rocher chocolates with only 4 left, and a note which read as follows:
“I didn’t get hungry while wrapping your presents. When I left the office with them, I stopped to fill the stove then i slipped on the stairs. when I got to the top of the stairs, there was a show I really wanted to watch. This is the only one of the gifts I had left.”
So, you guessed it, I had to go on a present hunt.
-one present behind the wood pile – a nice outfit with 4 chocolates in it
-one present under the stairs – a night shirt, bra & 4 more chocolates
-one present under the couch by the TV – opened it up and there were 2 wrapped boxes.. socks & panties
had a look at the bra to see the color, if you’re counting you’ll have figured out there was the remaining chocolates in the box, with the bra. I got other stuff too, including a Women’s Devotional Bible that I was on the verge of buying myself.
He had also been teasing me about a rather large present he was getting me, which he tells me last night he didn’t get. then he says “do you want to know what it was, and we can still go get it?” well, DUH!
oh… it was a dining room table set.

( For those who don’t know, we have a circa 1965 chrome & Formica set with two high-backed grey vinyl chairs, two low-back bright blue vinyl chairs and a brown one that only children should sit on for fear of collapsing. So we are overdue.)

I did get him good, since he always seems to know what I got him. The last present he opened was in an unmarked box. It was a lot of black tubing, and one sheet of instruction with no title. he got it together and *still* didn’t know what it was. never laughed so hard at him……. it was a Valet Rack. You put your dress clothes on it that you have taken off and it keeps them neater than the floor does.

The kids all got new sleds, so the girls and I sat on the toboggan in the middle of the living room floor and “practiced”. This involved a lot of screaming and giggles, especially when I yelled “everybody lean!” and we almost tipped over. Meaghan hollered “Watch out for the truck!” So we had to lay down.

Addison got an alarm clock from me, so i don’t have to get up 10 minutes before him to wake him up. We also got him a new comforter, which he loves, and tear-away warm up pants which he was really impressed with, because all the “cool” kids have them. Told you he was getting older. not that he didn’t like the transforming Spider-man from Meaghan or the Crazy Carpet for Sarah…..

Now I’d like to mention a few words about Santa. Seems for a couple of weeks Meaghan has been announcing that Santa is really us. Then the closer it got, she kept asking “is there really a Santa??”, just to check and make sure, and the other kids didn’t want to burst her bubble (or their own), so we all gave non-committal answers.
I did tell her, though, that as long as you believe, there is a Santa. I still believe in Santa, although now he’s rather short, fairly skinny and has a goatee instead of a long white beard. There’s signs of a couple of grey hairs, but he’s my Santa all the same…..

(if you still don’t get it, its Ron)

Hope your day was full of memories. 🙂