Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Blogging 101

I titled this post Blogging 101, although I'm not sure it even qualifies as a level 101 class. The truth is, ever since I came out of the "blogging closet" (that's another story... thanks, Joanne!) a lot of my friends have started blogs, which thrills me to no end! As as result, I've gotten lots of questions, and thought maybe I could cover some of them here. I'm by no means a blogging expert and just kind of fly by the seat of my elastic-banded maternity pants as I blog. But, here are a few blogging things I can pass on.

Google Reader... Before I started my own blog, I read a bunch of blogs. If you've spent any amount of time surfing blogs, you know that one click leads to another, and before long, you've spent 3 hours on the computer and bookmarked 52 blogs that you intend to faithfully follow. I used to go up to my bookmarks, down to my "Blogs" folder and click on every one of my favorite blogs looking for updates. I'd often do this several times a day (by several, I mean 12). You can imagine, or maybe you know first hand, how much time I wasted by doing this. And then... I discovered Google Reader. I'd like to thank my non-blogging friend Nancye for showing me the light. (Nancye likes to read blogs, but has yet to get her own. C'mon, girl.)

Here's what it is: instead of clicking through all of the blogs you like, checking for updates, you go to ONE place, which will show you which blogs have been updated. It's so easy. You can read them as they're updated (or wait for them to pile up - I'm so guilty of this!), and you won't spend your time checking back over and over again.

How to get it: If you don't have a Google account, get one. It's free, and it's easy. If you have gmail or a blog through blogger or blogspot, you have a Google account already. If you don't, just go to Google. Up at the top left, it will list "Web... Images... Maps...", go over and click "more." Under "more", click "Reader." If you have a Google account already, log in. If you don't, click the "Create an account" button. Follow the instructions, and voila! You'll have a google account. (And now you can blog your little heart out, too!) Once you're in Google Reader, all you have to do is click "Add a subscription" over on the left, plug in the name of the blog you want to "subscribe" to, and it will be added automatically. It's that easy! Please leave a comment or email me if you have questions. This has saved me so much time and I just love my Google Reader. There are other types of subscription services out there, like Bloglines, but I'm telling you about Reader because it's what I know. I suppose you could play around and see if there's one you like more.

One neat thing you can do with Reader is "star" certain posts that you want to come back to later. I've often done this when I wanted to reread a great post, or comment on one at a later time, or just run across some I want to remember. The one thing I wish I could do is comment on blogs without clicking out of Reader. So if you want to comment, you click the link that leads to the blog and comment as usual. It's really a very minor hassle, and one hardly worth complaining about for the convenience Reader gives.

Speaking of commenting... it goes without saying that bloggers LOVE comments. Can I get an amen?! Comments are like a little pat on the head, but can get you through for days. But, did you know if you don't have an email address associated with your blog that bloggers on whose blogs you comment can't respond to you through email? Sometimes I'll get a comment or question that I wish I could respond to privately (and not in the context of a follow-up comment on my own blog) but can't because the commenter does not have an email address linked to their profile. Here's what I mean: when you leave a comment on a blog, an email is sent to the blogger. If you don't have an email linked to your name, it comes through like this - your name ( noreply - comment @ blogger . com ) - and so it's impossible to reply.

So! Here's how to fix this, if you choose. Go into your Blogger profile, and enter your email address. It's not required, so it's likely that you left it blank. As long as you check the appropriate box, it will NOT show up on your blog or be accessible to anyone. All that it will allow is that people can respond to comments. If you're sensitive to your privacy, which is very understandable, you could just create a free email account for this purpose. Or, you could do nothing and ignore this little piece of blogging info! (I'm okay with that. I won't be offended if you don't all rush to your profile and enter your email address.)

Memes... If you're new to blogging (Abby), you probably panic and don't know what to blog about half the time (Abby). But, there's a whole world of memes out there to get you started. A meme (I say it so it rhymes with "seem") is usually just a list of ideas or answers compiled into a blog post. For example, some recent memes that have circulated include writing your life slogan in 6 words, listing 10 things you were doing 10 years ago, listing some of your earliest memories... you get the point. I don't do memes very often, but whenever I have started one, it usually evolves into a separate blog post because of something it triggered in my mind. I think it's a great way to brainstorm things to write about if you're at a loss. Just google "blog memes" and you'll get a slew of websites to give you ideas. Your blog should never be stagnant again (Abby).

Sitemeter... If you own a blog, there's a fun little gadget you can add that will track your visitors. Like Google Reader, there are several types of meters out there, but I use Sitemeter. Some people like Statcounter. For the casual blogger like me, there's really no point to it, except that it serves as one more distraction (you know, in case Facebook and Word Twist aren't enough). I suppose if you're a serious blogger, and in it for the money (don't even ask me how that works!), you can really use it to target your audience. For me, I think it's just fun to see how people get to my blog, how long they stay, where they're from, etc. The statistics can show which blogs or websites they clicked from to get to your blog, which is my favorite part. This is under the "referrals" tab, in case you go to sitemeter.com to get your own (free!) account. The most interesting part is when someone finds your blog via a search engine. The top search that leads to my blog remains something along the lines of "boots for skinny legs" or "dresses for thin calves" thanks to this post. I'm glad my blog is impacting so many people in such a deep and powerful way. Anyway, if you want a meter on your blog, go to Sitemeter and follow the instructions. It's simple, but again, I'm happy to help if you need it. And by the way, I can't tell exactly who you are, so don't let it scare you. It's much more general than that.

Blogging Etiquette... oh boy. This is a topic for a whole blog of its own. I'm not going to cover any of that here just because there are a million blogs already talking about it. I don't know what's "proper" in the world of blogging. I just blog. I do it for fun. I don't stress about who leaves comments and who doesn't and why. If you have specific questions, I say google them and see what you can find out. Maybe someday I'll talk about it, but for now, I'm just taking this blogging thing with a grain of salt and having fun with it!

Finally, you can find hundreds or thousands of other blogging tips all over the web. This was just a (not-so-brief) summary of a few things that I've found to be helpful. I ran across this post the other day which gives some concise (concise! what does THAT mean?!) tips about blogging, and I thought it was excellent. Maybe you'll like it too.

Like I said before, I'm far from a blogging expert. But I love blogging. I love reading them, and I love writing my own. If you have any questions, I'll try to answer them or point you in the right direction. Happy blogging!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

** Michelle **

Today is my special friend Michelle's birthday! I'm proud to say she's one of my very most best friends. If you know her, you know how lucky you are. She's just one of the sweetest, most caring people I know. She has the gentle spirit I strive for and just shines Jesus to all those who meet her. In fact, I remember one time when a girl we both knew came to her and commented that there was just something different and joyful about her. Duh! It's Jesus!

Michelle, I'm thankful for you and for our friendship. I feel like I've known you forever, even though it's only been what... six years? seven? I can't keep track! You're a great example to me of what a wife, mom, daughter, sister and FRIEND should be. I love the ways you love Jason, the way you honor your parents and brother, the fun, loving, and patient way you are with your kids, and what a faithful and caring friend you are. You really are special. And you're so good at so many things! It's hardly fair!

So, in honor of today, here are a few poems about my friend, Michelle. (How can I get a copyright on these things? Because these are GOOD!) I didn't get something in the mail to you like I'd hoped, Michelle, so hopefully these will do until that happens. Oh, and Michelle is great at being prompt and following through with things she intends to do... I'm not.

On to the poems. These are sure to become classics.

A limerick:
There once was a girl named Michelle.
She loved her family, you could tell.
She made dinners from scratch,
Picked out clothes that did match,
She really knew how to love well.

A haiku:
Michelle 'livia
Born thirty-one years ago
Time to celebrate

Another haiku:
Michelle is the bomb
She just cut her hair; it's cute
That girl is awesome

Yet another haiku:
Come back to Boulder
California will miss you
But I miss you more

Another limerick (illustrated with a photo!):
There once were two Mary Kay girls
Who went to Dallas for some thrills
They wore fancy dresses
And curled their long tresses
But were really just girls from the hills



(That one will make no sense to others...! You see, we met through Mary Kay years ago, and attended a big convention in Dallas, and one night we had to wear FANCY formal dresses. We felt like we were playing dress up. Michelle looked BEAUTIFUL that night. But the truth is, I think we're both more comfortable in our jeans, t-shirts and flip flops.)

And a few more pictures...

Here's one of us with our first babies, born a month apart! (Yes, I have my finger in Emma's mouth... it's the ONLY way she ever stopped crying those first few months!)


I love this one. Carson was only 7 months old, and it's still on my fridge.


This is from when Emma and I came out to visit in June '05. We were both pregnant with #2!


From February '06... Livi and Addie were so tiny!


From your last trip out here in March... no picture of us together, but look how big our kids have gotten!


Happy Birthday, sweet Michelle. You are a treasure to me!

Click here to give Michelle some birthday love on her blog!

Monday, June 23, 2008

FaceSpace... SpaceBook... MyFace...

FaceBook.

Call it what you want, I call it my newest addiction.

My cousin Molly calls it the "gateway drug." (So funny, Molly!)

I swore I wasn't going to get sucked in to FaceBook or MySpace, but folks, I'm the proud owner of my own FaceBook page. I've got the Wall to prove it. I heard someone refer to blogging the other day as "Facebook for old people," so maybe I'm just trying to hang on to my youth. Who knows. It was my birthday last week. I'm getting older, you know.

But I must be kind of old because there are just some things about FaceBook I don't get.

First, why would you send someone virtual Ben & Jerry's? I ask the question being guilty of it myself. I've both received and sent virtual pints of Ben & Jerry's. After the first pint I received, I concluded two things: 1) a virtual pint is definitely not as good as the real thing and 2) the marketing ploy worked because within minutes of receiving that first pint, I was on my way to the freezer to get my ever-present pint of Phish Food. But you know, at least giving away virtual pints of Ben & Jerry's is free, and at least it shows you were thinking of a friend in one of the highest forms possible. So friends, keep on sending those virtual pints, I don't fault you for it at all. HOWEVER... what I really don't get is why people would pay actual, non-virtual money for virtual gifts. I love my friends, but I'm sorry. I'm not paying a dollar for a virtual balloon to show up on your Facebook page. I'm pretty sure you know I love you, virtual balloon or not.

Now let's talk about Facebook etiquette. Maybe I need to go read up on it, because surely, somewhere in the big wide world of Internets there's a tutorial on it. I'm just not sure if it's bad manners to not reply if someone writes on your wall, or to not poke someone back, or to not accept the 1,352 gifts or requests you get from people, or to not comment on every photo your friends post... seriously. Maintaining all 652 friends on Facebook could be a full-time job if you took it seriously enough. And at first, I was determined to keep my Facebook friends to actual friends that I have some sort of relationship with. That went out the window fast. Granted, it's fun to catch up with old friends who I haven't talked to in years, whether from high school or college or somewhere in between. But when I started getting friend requests from people I don't actually know... then it got weird for me. In every case (so far) they're at least a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend... but... I'm up for making new friends, but where do you draw the line? And do they know if you just choose to "ignore" them? It's starting to get stressful.

That said, if we're not "friends" yet... I promise to confirm your friend request. (Can you imagine if we gave each other friend requests in real life? Yes, you can. It was called junior high. "Will you be my friend? Check yes or no.")

And really, what's the point of checking everyone's status 37 times a day? I'm totally guilty of doing it, and yet I can't really figure out what good it's doing me. But I... can't... stop. I can tell you that Amber gave her kids popsicles at 10:00 this morning, and that Dena went to VBS this morning and that Michelle (who needs a blog) had an unfriendly reunion with her treadmill this morning, but don't ask me what time my husband is coming home tonight, because I haven't had time to call him amidst all of this status checking. I update my status because I think it was part of my Facebook contract, but really, I can't figure out many things interesting enough to update. "Angie is making PB&J for her kids... again." "Angie is emptying the diaper pail." "Angie is peeling her sunburn." And yet, I've seen more mundane things. (Oh, time to update my status... be right back. Or, BRB in Facebook chat lingo.)

Speaking of Facebook chat, I've learned it's a great way to get to know people better, catch up with friends, and go to bed well past a reasonable hour.

But, let's get down to the brass tacks. I've admitted it before, and I'll say it again. Friends, shmends... I'm on Facebook for the games. I'm a WordNerd. I've got the Scrabulous application, the Word Twist application, I've got Scramble and I've got Pathwords. I admitted to a friend the other day that I get a little downcast when I log in and don't have a game waiting for me. So, while I'd like to blame the warm weather and busy-ness of summer for my blogging inconsistency lately, I blame the silly word games on Facebook. I justify my addiction by saying that I'm learning and stimulating my mind. While this might be true, it's not justifying why my housecleaning has fallen by the wayside or why I'm way behind on commenting on blogs I love or feeding my children nutritious meals.

And okay, I'm not on it JUST for the games. It really is fun to have another way to connect with friends. I guess sometimes I just wish we were connecting in real life and sharing that pint of Ben & Jerry's with two spoons, you know? So, I'll quit complaining and being so cynical. Just come on over with a pint of Phish Food and two spoons, and I'll pull out my Scrabble board. I'm not worried... I can kick your butt just as well in real life.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Messages from above

The other day Emma was in her room for nap time (or quiet time, as it's turned into for her), and was not happy about it. She just doesn't get that mommy needs that time to do mommy things - like nap, do laundry, read blogs and play silly games on Facebook.

Anyway, about 20 minutes went by when a note floated down over the upstairs balcony and into the hallway downstairs. I happened to be walking by when it arrived. It looked like this:


And a moment later I received this note:


Later, when she was finally granted access to the magical land of downstairs (really, does she think she's missing out on all the fun?) Emma informed me that it said, "I would like to come downstairs now."

You've got to credit her for trying! At least she's creative.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

"Wedded Bliss Gives Way to Hogwash" ... story at 10

Alright... hang in there girls (and guys?) because we're about to swing a 180 here at the ol' blog.

The sincerity and beauty and touching moments from yesterday's post will seem a thing of the past after you're done reading what I'm about to write. I almost feel like I'm betraying the feelings behind that post, but I assure you, it's just a true reflection of my life. It seems like ever since losing Joshua, one moment can be filled with sorrow and the next I can be laughing hysterically. What a great God we have to allow us to have such a range of emotions. (Or maybe I'm just pregnant. Wait. I am.)

So like I said yesterday, I'm pulling pictures off of my camera, and I ran across this:


And this:


And it reminded me of a story I MUST share with you.

It's okay if you're grossed out. Just wait. It will get worse (but be thankful I don't have pictures of "worse").

That picture is from a couple of weeks ago. Gary and his team threw the annual bash for our graduating seniors, and the theme this year was a luau. And no luau would be complete without a pig, right? My girls walked in and saw the pig and were NOT grossed out, I'm happy to report. Emma's concerns were that his bones were showing and that he died eating an apple.

Well, nine years ago - the inaugural year for the "Senior Send-Off" - we celebrated with a luau as well. A kid in the group suggested we have a luau and roast a pig underground. We did a little research and decided it was totally doable.

Totally.

Oh, I wish I could get those pictures of us ("us" being Gary and some of the kids - not me) digging that hole behind the church, burying the pig and dancing around the bonfire on top. It was like a scene from "Lord of the Flies" and it felt so dangerous. After we were certain that the ground was hot enough to cook this pig, the fire died down and we waited. After honeymooning in Kauai 9 months before, we were eager to taste the pork that was certain to fall off that pig's bones. There is no meat like pork from a luau pig.

Unless that pig didn't cook. And that pig got cold. And that pig got dug up by the neighbor's dog.

Now, I might have some of the details a little off. This part of the story is a little hazy to me. I'd ask Gary, but I think it's best some wounds just remain unopened. When we dug up the pig a day or two later and found it was cold, Gary was totally discouraged. After some quick thinking, we changed gears and grilled the usual. The luau didn't seem so luau-y with hot dogs and hamburgers, but it certainly beat cold, undercooked pork.

The problem became what to DO with the pig that had been rotting underground. Well, at the time, the church sat on a bunch of land, without neighbors close by. Unless you count that little house that that nice couple on staff lived in behind the church. With their dog. There was that house. And I guess it was only about 50 yards from where we ended up burying the pig. But surely that wouldn't prove to be a problem. So it was in the aforementioned hole that Gary and friends reburied the pig, and called it a day.

Or so Gary thought.

Later that night we got a call from the pastor who lived in that little house. You know, the one behind the church. It turns out their dog was really sick. Puking, in fact. It seems that she had dug up a pig that was buried behind their house. Huh! How'd that get there? He requested that Gary come bury the pig... again.

Thus begins our first fight. Nine months into our sweet little marriage, and the honeymoon was over.

After a long day, Gary got that message and said, "Well, his dog dug it up, he can go bury it!"

Being the compassionate wife I am, I heard the message, noted my husband's long day and weary demeanor and said, "You clearly didn't bury it deep enough! The poor dog is going to die! You go bury that pig!!!"

Being a newlywed, I was surprised - no, stunned - that he didn't gaze lovingly into my eyes and admit that I was right. I was amazed - no, astounded - that he didn't drop what he was doing and leave right then to get on the task and bring me back some ice cream in return for showing him the right thing to do.

Instead, a hefty little argument ensued. Obviously, we were both right.

In the end, after stating my opinion on the matter LOUD and clear, I announced that I was going grocery shopping. I slammed the door to our apartment and left.

I can't remember how long I was gone, and I can't tell you a thing I bought at the store that night. But I can remember one thing as vividly as if this happened yesterday: I passed Gary walking to the church on my way home from the store. We had one car back then, and I had it. I remember feeling a rush of mixed emotions - regret that he was having to walk all the way to the church, and relief that he was going back to the church to do what, in my opinion, was the right thing. I'm sure he was cussing me out the whole way there! (And no, I didn't consider turning around to give him a ride. Sorry, sweets!)

I didn't wait up for him that night; I watched the late news and went to bed. But it turns out that the dog had done quite a number on the pig. Gary buried the body deep into the ground and covered the area to mask any other dogs or animals from smelling it. Then he wrapped the pig's head in, like, 57 trash bags and put it in the dumpster. (Ironically, the kid who instigated this whole thing was into dumpster diving years later - imagine the surprise when someone found THAT treasure!) Gary said he gagged the whole time and that it was the grossest thing he's ever done.

But I didn't learn about these details until MUCH later. We woke up the next morning and not a word was said about any of it. We didn't talk about "the incident" for a long, long time after that. Maybe years, I can't remember. There were no apologies, no follow-ups, it was all just water under the bridge, I guess. Probably not a super healthy way to deal with it. The funny thing is, within the week - maybe the next day, like I said, I can't remember all the details now - our senior pastor invited us over for dinner and served... pork! Gary couldn't eat it and I was groaning inside, knowing it was churning up bad feelings.

All these years later, we laugh about the story. And most of our friends know about "the pig" and our first fight or have at least heard the legend. Maybe Gary will come out of bloggy lurkdom to correct some of my hazy details, but I'm confident he'll get a kick out of this little walk down memory lane and it won't start another swine skirmish. Will we try to roast a pig underground again? Highly unlikely. Unless we're living in Hawaii, and then anything is possible.

A little note... Gary came in as I was writing this and asked what I was blogging about. I told him "The pig." He said, "Pig?" I nodded and his expression changed and with a twinkle in his eye, he said, "THE pig?" Yes, we share such fond memories of THE pig. May his head rest in peace.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Finally

I have several posts swirling about in my head, but can't seem to get them in order. So I thought I'd check my camera which is full of pictures that I haven't uploaded to the computer in awhile, and post a few of those to get me going.

But then I ran across some pictures that merit more than a post-and-run kind of post.

After many, many months of waiting, and many promised deadlines that have come and gone, our baby's marker is finally in place. We ordered it back in October and they told us that it would be in before Christmas. That was fine, we said, as long as it's in by his due date, January 3rd. It wasn't. Each time we'd go inquire about it, we were given a new date it would be in by, and it would come and go with no marker.

But finally, a few weeks ago on my routine drive through the cemetery, I stopped to check and my heart fell to my stomach. It was there. I had left the car running with the girls inside, so I couldn't stay long, but I collapsed to my knees. I wasn't expecting to see it. But there it was... so permanent and so awful. I touched the marker and ran my hand across his name, "Joshua Dale Osborne." For the gazillionth time it hit me that it really happened and I was struck by the unfairness of it all. And for the gazillionth time, the Lord comforted me and reminded me that His ways are not my ways and that He is close to the brokenhearted. Right about then, the baby in my tummy kicked and turned, and I gave thanks to God for His faithfulness. But it still isn't easy.



I cried, but tried to quickly compose myself because of my two little passengers waiting for me. They knew something was different and were very quiet when I got back in the car. I was still crying, although I was trying to conceal it from them as much as I could. Emma asked if I was crying and as I nodded, she said that she is sad about baby Joshua too. And then she said, "But Mommy, you don't need to be sad. You still have us!" To which a little echo came from Addie, "Yeah, you still have us!" How could I not smile?! I carefully explained that of course I still have them and that I love them so, so, so, so much but that it's okay to be sad and miss Joshua. I also explained that God is good and is giving us another baby boy to love!



The girls asked if we could put flowers on his name since it's there now, and so the next day, Gary and I took the girls over to visit Joshua. They wanted to "plant" their flowers, so we kind of stuck them in the dirt and the girls went on their merry way. (We had to explain that no, the markers are NOT meant for playing hopscotch...)



We know he's not there. Before this all happened, we thought the idea of graves and markers was all just kind of silly. But to be able to go and see his name and acknowledge that his little life mattered is suddenly a big deal and not silly at all.

Months ago, we wondered how hard it will be someday if we move away and have to leave his grave behind. I guess it shouldn't be any surprise that the Lord heard our concern and provided a solution.

The cemetery had an extra marker for Joshua that somehow wasn't done quite right for mounting and gave it to us. Gary mounted it onto a stone, which now sits under a tree we planted in remembrance of Joshua last fall. (We actually like it better than the granite in the cemetery!)

So, I guess we finally have some "closure"... if you can even call it that. I'm not sure there is ever closure when you lose someone you love, especially a child. At least, not this side of heaven. I think closure will be when Jesus places him in my arms the day I arrive in heaven.

Until then, with every kick and bump and turn I feel, God reminds me with this new baby that He is merciful and that life goes on. We can't wait to meet him. He doesn't have a name yet, or a room, or many clothes to wear, but he has a place reserved for him in our family and in our hearts. My expectation isn't that he'll replace Josh or take away the ache in my heart, but I've found that God has used time to heal my broken heart. I know he'll continue to do so, and I'm certain that one look at our new baby boy will ease a thousand aches. I can't wait for the love my heart can hold to multiply yet again when he is born!

- - -

When I sat down to pull pictures from my camera this morning, I was anticipating a much lighter post! There are some funny pictures to share, and they are forthcoming... stay tuned!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Oh yeah... I have a blog!

No, I didn't really forget I have a blog. But it has taken an unintentional back seat the last week or two. So for those who have been kind enough to ask, I'm totally okay! Thanks for wondering!

We were super busy the last two weekends, and I think the craziness of the weekends and the weeks in between have just thrown me for a loop!

First, last weekend was graduation weekend. Anyone who has an inkling of an idea what a youth pastor's life is like knows that we were barely keeping our heads above water as a result! This year, the girls and I didn't tag along to the graduations (were there 8, Gary? Or more?) or to all the parties, but I think between Friday night and Sunday night, we made it to around 15 parties. (I can't tell you how thankful we were that several of those parties involved multiple students... can you imagine?!) We were partied out, but it was really fun. I mean, what pregnant lady is going to complain about the opportunity to just graze all day and not have to cook? Not this one. Needless to say, we wisely called off the Memorial Day BBQ we'd hoped to have my family over for. We just didn't have it in us, and then with crummy weather it just didn't seem worth it.

It was funny though, we stopped by one party where we warned our girls that there would be a pool, but because we didn't have our suits with us, there would be no swimming. We did, however, let them take off their sandals and dangle their feet over the side. I've got to give credit to Addie who found a way to get what she wanted. She took off her sweatshirt, "accidentally" put it in the water, swished it around and came around to everyone throwing it so they'd get wet! This happened over and over again until she and Emma were soaked. Finally (by no coincidence, I'm sure), she leaned over one time to swish her sweatshirt and... fell in! We only laughed, because there were about 6 high school girls there to catch her, and Emma followed her right in. They loved swimming around with the older girls (in their DRESSES!) and we didn't care. The bad part? Addie was obviously not wearing a swim diaper and I've never seen such a swollen diaper before. SO GROSS!

This past weekend was exhausting, but awesome. Our family participated in ShareFest for the 5th year in a row. It's grown every year, and this year 35 churches helped local schools and community organizations clean up their places. Our job was at Erie Elementary where Gary and I painted curbs and lines yellow in the parking lot. It was our third year doing this job, so we feel like pros. If you need any bright yellow lines painted around your house, we're your people. The girls were in childcare all day, so we figured we were on a date all day. Although we were hot and tired, it really was great to spend the day side-by-side talking and hanging out and serving together. Yesterday, all of the churches gathered for a giant worship service, and it was really neat to hear how our work impacted others.

So when I haven't been partying or painting, I've been editing papers for Gary who is taking an intense Maymester seminary course. I'm happy to help, although I don't know what I'm reading half the time... I think the paper on "Ancient Future Faith" is next. Huh?!

And then I had this big issue where I thought Google Reader had lost all my blog links. I was sad. Very sad. But then a couple days ago when I went to plug them all back in, they were there! Yay, God! I was thankful to not have to spend time doing that, but I'm WAAAAY behind on reading my blogs. I've barely done any backreading, but four things I've noticed: this blog has a new, fresh look (love it, Kelly!), this post is wet-your-pants funny (to me, anyway!), this blog just updated TODAY! (I originally was out to say it had been abandoned and then I went to get the link and SURPRISE!), and this blog has a wet-your-pants funny picture on it (is he still speaking to you for posting that?). So, I'm going to get back into my blogging mojo here soon. Reading and posting. Reading and posting. Right.

Today... ohhhh, today. Today has been one of those mommy days that I want to start all over again. We had plans to go swimming today, but when I looked around at my house and what looked like Hurricane Fisher-Price had left behind, I decided that we'd only go IF the girls picked up their things. Whatever. The house is worse off than it was this morning. We didn't go swimming. In fact, we've been inside all day on this 85-degree day because they just mope around telling me how they don't want to clean. They're still in their jammies!!! They didn't want to get dressed! Not me... I'm in my swimming suit sitting here typing this because I REALLY wanted to go swimming. Argh. So there's my mommy-temper-tantrum. Will someone send me to my room?!

Oh, and I'm not going to even talk about potty training and the success we're having in that arena.

Oh, and did I mention we've been trying to get the girls to share a room lately? Yeah, that's loads of fun.

So that's the story of why I've not blogged lately. Life has gotten in the way.

And, okay fine. Those who know me well know that I've been sucked into the world of Facebook. Thank you Cam... thank you Amber... thank you Amy and Abby. My house will never be clean again. It's been fun to see old friends on there, but my true obsession? THE GAMES. I'm a total Word Nerd. There's just no way around it. I've been spending my spare time playing games like Scrabble (Scrabulous) and Boggle (Scramble) and Word Twist on Facebook. I justify it by saying I'm challenging myself and using my brain. Mmm-hmm. So if you're up for a challenge and think you can beat me (you can't), come find me on Facebook.

Wow! What a whiner of a post! If you hung in this far, you must really love me, have a boring life and find mine fascinating. Let's trade!

I'm off now to see if Ben and Jerry want a little company...
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