Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Sometimes I really don't know how to answer a question like, "What have you been up to lately?"  My brain flashes scenes from my most recent days and tries to sort through the images to figure out what's worth sharing.

Not sure what I mean?

Allow me to share with you some bits from my week so far.  And, yes, it's only Tuesday.

Sunday morning started out as a typical Sunday morning does for us.  Jared and I woke up before the kids and both worked on getting ourselves ready.  Then began the process of ushering the children along from one task to the next to try to get everyone ready for church on time.  Only our "on time" is earlier than other people's because we have to get there early enough to drop off three children, make photocopies of my lesson for my class, and get Jared up to his post running the computer about 15 minutes before church starts.

The church service was great, and I was delighted to chat with church people before and after the first service.  Then I taught my Sunday school class.  We had two visitors, who sat right by me, causing me to temporarily get nervous and flustered.  I think the class went well despite my nervous chatter.

After my class (and the second service) was over, I needed to pick up the boys and wait for Jared.  He teaches the preschool class at church every other month and has been doing it for nearly ten years now.  This is his month to teach, so we had to wait for all of his kids to get picked up before he and Nora could join me and the boys.  We needed to rush home to change clothes and pick up a list of things to take to a family reunion 45 minutes away that started at 1:00.  We pulled out of the church parking lot at 12:17, so we knew we'd be late but that's sooner than we usually get out of church. 

We had no idea what was about to happen.

We drove toward our neighborhood, asking the kids about their classes and filling each other in on our own mornings.  We turned onto our street and got to the stop sign about a block away from our house.  The intersection was blocked off by two police cars.  Then we saw an ambulance.  Then we saw several fire trucks.  They were mostly parked in front of our house.

My stomach lurched as I realized...I think our house burned down while we were at church.

Jared thought quickly and found an alternate route to get to the other end of our street.  We had to park at the end of the street and walk to our house.  In the process of parking and walking, we realized it was actually the house directly across the street from us that had burned while we were at church.

Taken from our garage

Taken from our front porch

Taken while walking back to our car

Taken the next morning after emergency vehicles were gone

Our next door neighbor had seen lights flickering in the main floor windows (possibly flames or possibly electricity flickering) and then saw the garage explode.  He called for help.

The family who lives in this house (including five children) was out of state visiting family, so no one was injured.  Even their dog was safe with a neighbor.

We spoke to our neighbors then to some of the onlookers standing in our yard.  Then we had to rush inside to change and prepare for the reunion, even though I couldn't focus on anything other than the commotion outside.

We rushed to the family reunion and obviously got there late.  We picked through the food that was still left (we were SO hungry!) and tried to relax and enjoy seeing everyone. 

Jared's cousin had a new baby whom we saw for the first time.  Here, she's talking to her grandpa (Jared's uncle), who has battled severe health issues for the last couple years.

We were at a park, so the kids played on the playground equipment.  They also ran to the nearby water tower and struck this pose:

Griffin won the "guess how many candies are in this jar" game, so he got to keep the jar of gumdrops.

Jared's aunt and uncle won a bag of gummy worms and shared them with my kiddos.

After the reunion, we went to Jared's dad's house to swim for a couple hours and eat dinner.  We scarfed down a somewhat rushed dinner, and then Jared and I went to my brother's church for a once-per-year gathering in honor of a ministry run in part by my high school youth pastor and his wife.  We heard an update on the ministry, hugged and chatted with old friends, visited with my brother and his family, and then had to get back to Jared's dad's to get the kids and go home.

We had rushed to church, rushed home, rushed to the reunion, rushed through dinner, rushed to the ministry event, rushed home for a late bedtime.

For those of you who give me a hard time about not attending our church's Sunday night service, please reread this post.  This is my life.

Yesterday (Monday) was a much slower pace but still filled with drama and excitement.  First of all, the church my sister and brother-in-law just left (my brother-in-law was the pastor) basically suffered a split Sunday night.  Yesterday was filled with the fallout from that.

We got to spend the day at my friend Angel's house.  She's not only a close friend of mine, she's also my sister's sister-in-law (their husbands are brothers), so she's family to me too.  Her daughter Sophie is a little older than Nora (she's actually Griffin's age), but the girls love to play together. 

The kids all played together while Angel and I discussed recipes, decorating, etc.  She fed my whole family lunch, and everyone had a fantastic day together.

Oh, and Nolan got stung twice right below his eye by a wasp.  First time any of my kids have been stung.

A little ice and a little time helped the swelling go down. 

The girls wanted to spend the night together, so we took Sophie home with us in the afternoon.  When we got home, I wanted to go check on the garden and found that it was flooded from some rain we got in the morning.

Even though I was ankle-deep in water at times and my flip flops kept getting stuck in the mud, I managed to gather some decent produce for the day.

I incorporated the veggies (not the jalapeno) into side dishes for our dinner.  After dinner the kids played together so well that I was able to work on my current sewing project.  I'm making crib bumpers for one of my college roommates who is 10 weeks away from having her second baby boy.  While I was sewing, I received a text message from my other college roommate saying she's pregnant with their third baby!

The girls were having a pretend tea party that turned into filling the teapot with water and drinking tiny teacups of water.  Griffin joined the party.  Then I made them little tea sandwiches and snacks, and we eventually made hot cocoa with tiny marshmallows.

Nora and Sophie wanted to sleep on Nora's floor, and they built a fort over their sleeping area.  They went to bed very easily and were so cute.

That's two days of my life.  This entire ridiculously long post is just the last two days. 

Someone recently asked me for a favor and said, "Everyone else works, so you're the only one who has the time."

I'm not offended by this comment because I understand what was meant.  Some days I do have schedule flexibility that other people don't have.  Some days I get to choose how our day will be filled.  But then some days we have to be late to everything, think our house burned down, and are slaves to a schedule that doesn't end until about 10:00pm (at which time we begin chores like tidying up the house and folding laundry).

So now if you ask me how I've been lately or what I've been up to, and my eyes glaze over in a blank stare, you'll know why.


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