Monday, June 29, 2009

Away for a Few Days

I am away for a few days with the kids in Panama City Beach-we couldn't take not having a kitchen anymore!

Just kidding!
My parents managed to wrangle an extra week at the beach house and my sister with her two kids, and my brother all came down to spend the week together. This is the first time since my sister got married that we are all together just as "The Lambs" again! It is so much fun.

I will update again when I get home and near some internet access again :)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Bag of Taters

We got home on Sunday night and traveling went well.
Asher did throw up on the bus, narrowly missing the inside of my pants inside the bathroom on the bus. (another story for another day-but let's just say 'thank God that didn't happen')

The kids did amazingly well and we very nearly cried tears of joy when we saw the Blue Ridge Mountains on the horizon at sunset on the plane ride. I didn't know that we really love living here until we had been gone for nearly a month in the coldest place on earth, that we were so happy here!

We got picked up by our friend Kristen and her boyfriend Kyle who had an American flag ready to be draped around Matt's neck, had a posterboard declaring Matt to be "an American Hero", flowers for me and a slew of balloons for the kids. Everyone thought that Matt was returning from the Middle East fighting a war. Nope, just doing Single Ladies for a bunch a 16 year olds for Jesus.

So we get home to see that our yard had in fact turned into a jungle. And these few things were also waiting to be discovered:

just in case you forgot, we have NO KITCHEN.

But we do have a fridge, full of month old produce. Awesome.

Yes, that is my coffee maker. Apparently, this is from the coffee that we made when we LEFT FOR COLORADO.


And the obligatory sippy cup that you forget has just enough apple juice to make penicillin in a months time.

But I have found that this is no big deal.
I am really missing our community from North Asheville and I am having a hard time living in our new house in the summer. I don't even know where a POOL IS.

I don't have many close friends down here and instead since we've been home, we've been making the 30 minute trek to Windy Gap to see friends that are on assignment there and to see our friends in Weaverville because that has been more comfortable.

It's not what we have been called to and I need to learn to live down here in this part of town, but with my kitchen being a mess; I think I want to go away again.
It is really hard to find out that my bag of potatoes is really in my own heart and I just want to not be living where we are and I want my old life back again.

I miss my friends and how easy it was to be on assignment. It was fun to be around people all the time that were in the same place we were and loved to laugh and knew us. It is really hard to start over, even in your same town.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

What's Your Bag of Potatoes?

Every year we go on assignment and every year we come home from our assignment at Young Life camp.

This year is no different.
We will arrive at home in less than 24 hours.
And the conversation has begun.

What will be our "bag of potatoes" this year?
About six years ago we came out here to Crooked Creek, and we came home to an awful smell in our house. When I say awful, I mean the worst smell you can imagine.
After a month away from your house, the possibilities are endless and so you have to do investigations. But there are also about 4,000 other things you have to attend to like mail, messages, yard work, spider webs throughout your house, you realize the a/c has been set to 62 for a month, your garden is shot to you know where, a tree might have fallen in the yard and you have no groceries in your house, you have come home with 6 tons of laundry to do because it was too hectic leaving camp to do it AND you leave for your summer camp trip in something like six days and kids are dropping off the trip left and right. Plus your mom and dad call right when you walk in the door.

All of this happened to us six years ago. Well, not all but say 75% of it. We didn't have a/c. And a tree didn't fall. Everything else? True.

So I had to find it because Matt was on the phone with his parents.
It didn't take long.
A bag of potatoes had rotted into pure liquid form while we were gone, thanks to the no a/c thing.
They had leaked into the wood in the cabinet, onto the floor and was dripping into the main part of the kitchen. (We were lucky to not have lost our deposit over that thing.)
I started to clean. For about 3.2 seconds before dry heaving. I thought I was going to puke and had to walk through the house, past Matt (on the phone still) to go stand over the toilet.
No puke.
I regained my strength and went back.
Nope. Dry heave again.
Again the walk of shame past Matt on the phone.
I repeat this about six times before he comes to investigate and HELP FINALLY.

It was filthy.
Trust me.

Every person on Young Life staff has their version of the rotten potatoes story.
It could be a tree fell on their house and no neighbor called.
It could be a toilet ran for the whole month and the house had to be gutted.
It could just be that the power went out for three days and all the food in the freezer was ruined but they had no idea and got food poisoning and ended up in the hospital only to later find out what happened.
(all true stories by the way)

It is also a great metaphor for things in our lives that probably need to be different when we come from a month away from our lives.
Like less work, more play.
Less TV, more reading.
Less other people, more family.
Or for summer staff and work crew, less people that aren't good for them and more people that are good for them.

The big question of the night and for the next few weeks for us is:
What's our bag of potatoes going to be this year?

What changes are we going to see that our marriage needs to make after this month away?
What changes do we need to make in parenting?
How can we do Young Life differently, better, more passionately? How can we love Jesus more?

I am excited to see what comes from it. But it is always scary. Always intimidating. Cause, I don't like the dry heaves. It ain't pretty. But you have to get in there and clean 'em out or else it stinks.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

One Day More

We leave for home tomorrow, single tear.
Seriously we are really sad.
Tonight, the program team performed One Day More from Les Miserables as a finale for campers. All of the guys have loved doing this number this month. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

With You, I Can Hike Anywhere

This morning we woke up and the weather was great. All three program guys wanted the day off. But I have been wanting to take Asher and Lucy on the All-Camp Hike all month long. So, much to Matt's surprise; today was the day.

We got the kids up and ready and we took long deep breaths hoping that this would not turn out badly. I mean, if they melted down we would just be at 12,000 feet elevation and five miles from camp rather than just at the pool like the rest of the assigned team, right?

I was praying. HARD.
We strapped Lucy into the little Ergo carrier that the Maslin's lent to us before coming out here. She looks like she in a papoose! She and Matt got to spend some Q-U-A-L-I-T-Y time together today.

And off we went! It was beautiful the whole way and the pace was perfect for the kids and us. It was definitely challenging and long, but Asher made it the whole way with very little complaining-mostly he just wanted lunch. It was simply beautiful and we got to meet a bunch of the campers.

It was a great day with our kids and I think they had a lot of fun. Matt and I really enjoyed the day. It was only three and half hours with a lunch stop, so that wasn't too bad and we got some great pictures.

Yes, we did go to top of this little "hill" and even more.

Mostly, I think we really got to see how much of an animal Asher is. He was a source of inspiration to high school students who were really having a hard time to keep going. After all, if a four-year old can make it, why couldn't they?

He was so sweet and really good and he was really proud of himself for the huge accomplishment of climbing a mountain today. I was fired up and loved every minute of it. Lucy had a great time hanging out and having a good time with Matt too.

Thank goodness this was not one of my worst ideas. I definitely approached the mountain with fear and trembling this morning!

Impossible To Choose My Favorites

Last night was again a GREAT NIGHT. The kids did amazing as did Matt and the program team. One hilarious story to tell you:

A special needs camper wandered into the middle of Tableau (which is a frozen scene involving all of the work crew and summer staff) and involved himself in the drama with the bad guy and the good guys. It was hilarious as EVERYONE was frozen, he wandered around playing guns with the bad guy. The bad guy comes in and does his scene (with this camper) and has to shoot a SHOTGUN, the camper involves himself when the scene "comes to life" and then sort of freezes momentarily until he wanders off. This camper does NOT TALK at all and has no communication skills. Just runs. So he ran off the scene.

The pictures are priceless as is the retelling of the story. I don't happen to have pictures of this as I was in charge of several other children, but trust me; it was REALLY REALLY FUNNY.

So we took about a million pictures last night and I might have to print all of them. I can't decide which ones are my favorites.

Asher is trying to act like Bubba Nubbins before the Opera.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Many Faces of Shirley Kramers

Just take a look and try not to laugh, you can't. She's that funny.

It's Day 4 again. Our last one. That means more pictures to come tomorrow! I don't know if we can top the previous weeks, but that won't keep us from trying.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Gone and Done It

I left camp yesterday and to buy a Flip Video Camera.
Have you seen these things? Amazing. AMAZING.

If you have kids and a nice camera that doesn't video, this is a must have. Also, it comes with a million accessories like underwater case, a helmet case, a bike mount. The list goes on and on. Get ready for a video bonanza.

So I have already been videoing up a storm. Starting last night at club and this morning with this.

You're welcome.

Anybody else's husband know how to do the Single Ladies dance AND move like that? I didn't think so.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rodl Junior

Matt and Asher come out together in a "finale" of Matt's magician character on the last night of camp. Last week Asher killed it!
But I don't have the video of that.

I have this weeks video for you.
Matt is a magician who does crappy magic tricks and in this trick he goes back in time to find his former self; Rodl Junior.


Also, it was vidoed with a Flip Video camera and I have to have one of these things. Does anyone else have one out there?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I'm a Minister's Kid!

Tonight my mom received the culmination of seven years of hard work:

She became ordained in the Episcopal Church!

It was an incredible undertaking and one that set a great example for me and hopefully for my kids about never being satisfied with where you are in life and hearing God's calling no matter what.

My mom has been a nurse my entire life and several years ago began to take her walk with God more seriously. When they moved to Georgia, her church offered courses to begin the process of ordination and she signed up to better herself and to grow deeper in her knowledge of God.

This was no small undertaking as the studying and course load was quite intense and VERY VERY deep.

Once she completed her studies, she really had to consider what God was calling her to and if he wanted her to serve within the church. She believed that he did and so after another year long process, she has been led to this place!

I hope that I have half as much faith to follow where God leads me in my life as my mom as had in hers.
Tonight she was ordained and I was so sad to have missed it while being here in Colorado. There are so few MAJOR moments in your parents life that you can be there for and I so wish to have been there.

But I was praying and thinking about you Mom! I love you so much and am so proud of you. You have worked really hard for this and deserve it.
(But if I think that you are wearing the collar a little too much, I will submit you to "What Not to Wear, Xian Edition." Don't think I won't.)

I love you!

The Swing

Today we had the opportunity to experience the brand spanking new swing at Crooked Creek. Me, Lindsay Hancock and Ellie Holcomb got to go and then after us went all the boys.

Let me just say, we were screaming our guts out.
It is the scariest thing I have experienced in a long time. And not just because it was designed and built by YL property staff.

It is genuinely scary and fantastic.
Take a looksie. Also, take a look at the view that it looks out over. AMAZING.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Best News Since He Was Born

Last night I was setting the kids down for bed and we were saying our prayers which included the high school kids that were at club listening to Mr. Frank talking about Jesus dying on the cross.

I was praying for them when Asher piped up,

"I have Jesus in my heart."
"You do?"
"Yes. He's right here."
"That's great news, do you love him?"
"I do. He's my friend."

All the while, Lucy is singing the song "Beautiful Scandalous Night" right next to me. (I can't make that up.)

After a few minutes, Matt came back to say good night and Asher told him the same thing. But he added,

"Jesus is in my heart Daddy. But you can't see him. He's inside, where you can't see...kind of near my belly."
"In your belly?"
"Yep, he's eating Dora Berries and Hot Dogs."

We hugged him all up and told him loved him and that was the greatest news we've ever heard and put him to sleep.

What a great way to end a tough week.

Pictures from Day 4

Here are the pictures that I promised you from Day 4 this week.

Lucy get yer gun with Amy Noll

Bryan and Lindsay Hancock coming into Tableau in the front end loader, scaring us and themselves half to death

You can't tell, but Lucy and I wore matching clothes in addition to our matching bonnets. It drew a collective "awww" from everyone who saw us. (which is always the goal)

Lucy is seriously enjoying cotton candy. Take a look at the squinty eye.

Look at my Marlboro Man. Mmmmmhmmm nothing like a man dressed like a cowboy to have you want to make more babies. Just kidding. A little.

Matt and Scott Roades dancing together joyfully after coming together in the Opera.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Good Days and Bad Days

We've had a couple of really good days with Asher since I last posted. Which is really nice. I think that we may have hit the bottom, which is what I am praying for.

We made it through another Day 4, pictures to follow-trust me on this one-they are cute as they can be.

But in the middle of the day yesterday, Matt had to lay down to take a nap. Uh-oh. There has been the plague going around camp and it visited our room yesterday.

By dinner, Matt had to excuse himself from the all camp sing-along (yes, we do that) and see the doctor. Who asked him, "How's this ear feeling?" Turns out Matt has a sinus infection AND an ear infection. Just like a 4 year old. Amazing.

Somehow, he was able to host the rest of dinner, the carnival, the Opera, AND the dance. After that, he made it through the afterparty and then crashed.

In the middle of this, Lucy started getting very upset over the program and MAD as a hornet at the bad guy threatening to burn down camp. So mad that she was shaking all over and her bottom lip was in full effect.
She was upset through the whole opera and wanted to go the whole time. Afterwards, I put the kids in bed around 10:30pm and when I saw Asher as usual around 7:15am I could see that all was well with him. But Lucy did not wake up until 10:30. AM.

Then she wanted to go back to bed at 2pm for nap. Until 5:30pm. That would be 15 and half hours of sleep TODAY. Then she was running a low grade fever. Awesome.

We are all hoping that this washes away with the 2 inches of rain that we have experienced today.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A New Day

Today was a new day with Asher.
Starting fresh. Trying to have a new attitude and new approach. But still with the old frustrations.

But, I did get a piece of encouragement.
One of the parents mentioned that last year their child simply wasn't eating enough "real" food on their assignment and they had to up the protein intake of their kids in order to compensate for it.

For example?
After two boxes of sugar cereal, Asher chases that with pancakes and syrup for breakfast.
At lunch, he ate a quarter of a grilled cheese sandwich, chips, kool-aid and a GIANT cookie.
Snack was a slushie at the snackbar with starburst and m&m's.
For dinner was fajitas, but he ate only a tortilla shell with cheese in it followed with a sopapilla and honey.

Now, I am not normally this out of it when it comes to my kids dietary intake. But there is a lot going on at camp. When this mom mentioned it to me, it was like alarm bells started going on inside my head and all of the sudden I realized that my kid was running off of PURE SUGAR.

He was sugaring up and crashing. Sugaring up and crashing. Then running off of adrenaline and excitement. Then he was just tired and wired. Then I just wanted to wring his neck.

So today, we changed course and added some serious protein to the diet and I think I saw some light at the end of the tunnel. Of course, this could all come crashing down tomorrow. But, I am so hopeful that if we regulate protein and make sure that we limit his carbs and sugar that he can chill a little bit more.

We can hope right?
Until then, there's always Lucy.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Losing My Mind

I am going to use this blog for a dose of parenting honesty tonight.

I just had a major blow-up with Asher and then of course Matt over how to best parent Asher and I am at my wits end right now.

He is a GREAT little boy. So cute, so fun, so full of life.
But when he just is crazy-it is ALL OUT. There is no reeling him back in. I feel like I am at a complete loss for how to be a mom to him because according to Matt the only thing that makes him respond is a spanking.

Which I don't exactly want to do for multiple reasons but
1) there are are about 450 people around at all times in camp
2) I want him to just listen to me WITHOUT needing to resort to spanking
3) I don't want to do it.

But over the last few months, I have noticed that he just tunes me out. It is like I am yelling at him ALL DAY LONG over the silliest things just to get his attention because he just can not hear me. When I am speaking directly to him, it is like he is looking over my shoulder. Not at my face. Not in my eyes. There seems to be no connection unless there is a threat of really bad things happening to him.

Tonight we had to punish him over the silliest thing and he went beserk. Which Matt came in on and then took over and it made me feel like a incompetent parent.
I just want Asher to listen to me and have fun and want to do the things that I ask him to do.
But instead, I feel like I am constantly giving him a talking to and putting him in timeout.
I am really tired and want to just give up.
It is so hard because I feel like as great as Asher is, he is such a challenge .

Sorry for the rant, but is this what 4-year old boy looks like?
I am beat down right now.

Nap Time

Lucy is running so hard at camp that she is sleeping around 12 hours a day. I had to wake her up from her nap at 5pm so that she would go to sleep last night.

She was so sweet and cuddly.

Yes, her feet are pressing up against the edge of the pack and play. She doesn't mind. And I don't mess with a kid who is sleeping 12 hours a day. Neither should you.

Just try to not kiss this face.

She was not happy about being woken up and threw a fit. So sweet to so SOUR.

Then she just pouted and stared at me for four to six minutes. Seriously.

Nothing like a lollipop to soothe the soul.

Then a rainbow came out and all was right with the world.
There is nothing like starting off the week with a rainbow to make you feel like the week holds a promise for you.