Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Heart Day

Valentine's Day is always a fun day for us, whether it includes just staying home or going out for a fancy dinner. This year was definitely in the former style from the flowers to the meal, but it was sweet and meaningful.

Robby gave me a lovely bouquet fresh picked from his mom's garden. I just loved the bright colors. I know that a picture of sausage and pancakes isn't really all that special, but I just wanted to show the one extra thing I did meal-wise: heart-shaped pancakes! Yes, they taste the same as non heart-shaped pancakes, but they're made with so much more love.
This is the only picture we took of us together, and it's not all that great. But we were very excited to open presents. My big gift was a Wii Fit. Robby assures me it's not because he thinks I need to use it, but he knows I've been wanting to exercise again. I gave him cologne because he stinks. (Just kidding.) Part of the day was also spent with my sisters hanging out at our house playing Wii (they are naturals at Wii yoga), and then we sealed the romantic day with In & Out for dinner. And that was Valentine's Day 2009.

Traveling Sister Returns

Chelsea is finally back from Guatemala, looking pretty and tan. We are so excited to have her home and be a sister-group of four again. My mom made a special dinner in honor of Chelsea and so we celebrated her homecoming the way we celebrate everything: yummy food and lots of laughter and stories.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Good Laugh

A few months ago, Stephanie G. so kindly treated me to a reading of one of her favorite blogs, Cake Wrecks. It only took about a minute of reading the blogger's witty discussion of cakes that have gone wrong for me to get hooked. Since then, I visit the blog here and there when I need a bit of a pick-me-up. You have to check out her latest commentary of Valentine Cakes, complete with some fantastic pictures. Trust me - you don't want to miss this.

Dinner with Sario's

We finally had dinner with the Sario's, and were we ever thrilled to make that happen. Nevermind we have been living here since July and have yet to do this! I wish I could post a picture of the six of us (Will, Steph, Molly, Willy, Robby, and me), but unfortunately, I once again did not do my best of taking pictures. Lame, I know. I did however snap this one of Molly as she thoroughly enjoyed the dessert Steph brought over - Banana Splits. Molly very effectively captures the joy we all had to be able to be together. We had a nice dinner, yummy dessert, and an overall fun time talking, laughing, and playing - both with the kids and with Wii.

Monday, February 9, 2009

New Meals

One of my resolutions this year is to try to cook something new every week. Today, since I had the day off, I thought I'd try my hand at fish tacos. I had bought this orange roughy fish from Costco and had a simple recipe for tacos. The result: fish that was tasty but not the best for fish tacos. I guess I was hoping that I could turn my kitchen into Rubio's, but this just didn't happen. Oh well. Tomorrow Steph and her family are coming over for dinner, so I'm going to stick to something I know how to do. (Those of you who have come to my home for dinner before may be able to guess!)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Tire Trouble

Plans do not always go as, well, planned. On Friday, Rob and I headed down south to visit some friends and take me to a Saturday women’s conference at which I would be leading worship. The trip began well: we packed our snacks, got lunch, and headed on our way. We were able to meet Curtis and Cassie for dinner and then stay at their place Friday evening. Saturday, I got a ride to the conference, and Rob met Steve and Kim for breakfast, and then John for lunch.

The conference was good: great planning, great speaker, and an attempt at great music. Unfortunately, the mic stopped working the second I began singing. We had forty-five minutes of worship with basically zero sound system. Oh well, I say. Worship is, afterall, not about the piano or the leader’s voice, but about hearts worshiping God together. (But can I still admit that I was a little bummed? The main point of the trip was for me to lead worship!)

I was wiped out after the women’s conference (and my voice was about done), so we scratched our plans to shop around and decided just to head home. Making it over the grapevine, we realized we would actually be home about dinner time. Fantastic, I thought. We’re usually pulling in about midnight, so this was going to be nice. We came down the grapevine, passed up the usual stop, and then it happened. Our car hit an abyss of a pot-hole and within seconds we realized we had a flat. We quickly pulled over to check things out. We were able to make it to an exit ramp and get on a frontage road.

Rob began to work immediately, pulling out our tire-changing kit and spare donut tire. Here is where we came to problem number 1. The allen wrench was missing. I did remember a time when a ton of dumb tools were rolling around in my trunk, and I decided to do a little cleaning and throw them into the tool kit – which was inside the house. Nonetheless, we began turning the car upside down to find the wrench, which we did not find. That’s okay, because at about this point we came to problem number 2. The key that fit to our particular lock on our fancy pants tires was gone. (Do I need to mention that I have not been particularly fond of these tires since we bought the car? I suppose not.) Again, we turned the car upside down. Again, we found nothing.

Time to call AAA. Here is where began the series of phone calls we would make. After speaking with a nice young lady who discovered we were in Mettler, a town about 20 miles south of Bakersfield, we got the bad news. “Our AAA drivers carry only standard tire removal kits. If you have a special lock, we won’t be able to remove the tire.” Problem number 3 quickly surfaced. “What are our options, then?” I ask. We could be towed to a nearby auto/tire shop who might have the right tools to remove our tire without the key. “Oh I just realized something,” she said. “You have only the classic membership. You only get a 7 mile tow. After that point, you are charged for each mile.” Hmm. Mettler isn’t exactly a town with a number of amenities around. I told the nice young lady I’d call back after figuring something out and let Rob know what she said, to which he let me know that it wasn’t just a popped tire. It was a cracked wheel. Not good news.

At this point, we decided to drive the car about a mile up the road to a gas station, hoping we could get some help there. We made it there and began another series of attempts to get home. The guy at the gas station had a couple of business cards that advertised 24 hour service. We tried them; no answer. We called AAA back, decided we would take the tow afterall (even though we’d be charge $8 a mile after the 7 mile limit), only to realize with their help that no tire/auto shops were open.

And here came my meltdown. We could not get our tire off no matter what we tried, could get towed for a price but had nowhere to be towed and no assurance that help would come, could not go back where we came from, and could not get home. Rob finally gave in, along with me, and recognized that we would have to get someone to come pick us up and deal with this whole mess again the next day. Rob called his dad who was more than willing to come and get us, even though we were at least an hour and a half away from Visalia.

About 9:30, nearly five hours after the ordeal began, Rob’s parents picked us up and brought us home. We walked in at 11:00 and crashed, only to wake up, go to church, and drive back to Mettler to get the tire off and get home.

Now, I have just spent time explaining my ordeal, and (let me be honest), pitying myself a bit for my bad day. But as a good friend of mine recently modeled to me, I do see God’s grace on us. First of all, we never are driving back during the afternoon. We are always driving in the dark, and through God’s grace, we had some light to assess our situation. Secondly, we happened to be right by the gas station and make it to that point. The next gas station probably was about 10-15 miles away. Third, we have wonderful parents who are willing to come and save us out of nearly any situation. And finally, the only real damage (it seems so far, anyway) is that we will have to have our wheels replaced, something we’ve been talking of doing anyway.

I wish I could say I had that super spiritual attitude yesterday, but I did not. I was frustrated, sad, tired, and downright angry. But don’t worry. I completely expect that I will be faced with another situation in the future that will give me the opportunity to respond how I should have. Or at least last longer until the meltdown.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Good-bye, Domino

I am so sad. My favorite magazine, the one I look forward to all month, immediately rip open and read the moment it comes, and re-browse over and over again---this magazine has now been cancelled. I know it's just a magazine, but I feel like this magazine has helped me make my living space a home, whether it was our apartment in Whittier or our new home in Visalia. The good-bye letter on their website reminded me of the sad scene in "You've Got Mail" when Kathleen Kelly has to close her beloved children's book shop. For those of you who never had the pleasure of reading or browsing Domino, you should take a look at the website before it's too late.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Nephew

Nathan and Deb came this weekend for a visit, and we were able to celebrate Nathan's first birthday a week early. I think the grandparents and his auntie and uncle were more excited about it than he was! We were thrilled to be able to get him more of a "big boy" gift -- a cool lawnmower. They're way cooler than they were when we were little. They still have little things that "pop" when you move it, but now there are real lawnmower sounds and music. It's pretty cute. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera and so took zero pictures of him with his cool presents and his terrible time trying to eat his cupcake. (He did not like having frosting on his hands.) I did, however, snag these adorable ones of him enjoying the not nearly as glamorous--but apparently just as interesting to him--"toys" at our house: tupperware, medicine balls, and a big cushion.

3 in 1

No, I'm not talking about the Trinity. This is referring to the three behavior referrals I gave out in one day, which unfortunately means my sweet start to second semester has come to a close. To be fair, the rest of my students are doing well, but my darling little challenges must have finally awakened from their post-Christmas break coma. Sigh. It was nice while it lasted. At least I have a couple of fantastic three day weekends coming up!