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2009 May » Philoxenos



30th May 2009


I am so homesick for New Zealand right now. Just overwhelmingly homesick. Like if someone offered me a ticket I’d be there in a minute. Just pack up the kids and go. I’m trying to identify what it is exactly that I’m missing so much and I know it’s just a combination of things. Do you mind if I just blab a bit?

I miss our friends. When we lived in Christchurch there was one couple that we were great friends with. The kind that we could call at the last minute and invite ourselves over, just wearing our sweats. We’d pick up some fish and chips and share them and spend the evening just talking and laughing. They helped us move. All three times.

When we moved to Cambridge I had probably the best friend I’ve ever had and I miss her incredibly. We used to walk together at 6am every weekday, rain or shine. Our children were the same age and we talked about child-rearing issues, spiritual things, how much we missed America. She’s one of the influences that got me thinking about homeschooling. My oldest daughter still talks about her daughter and she writes her emails even though she was only 3.5 years old when we left.

Then there were our English friends that lived out on a farm. They once rented a house to us. They were the most welcoming family, always had a door open. We’d go out to help with the chickens. They’d bring us eggs every week and I’d make them muffins as a thank you. And although we didn’t always agree on everything they challenged me to think differently about things, from a different perspective.

I miss the weather. It actually rains there! I think I miss the whole outdoor lifestyle of NZ. We spent a lot of time outside. We walked a lot of places, the kids spent hours outside exploring the yard because we actually had an interesting yard! We walked to the park down the street, we walked to the shops to buy milk and bread, we walked to church, we walked to our friends’ houses. I had a double pram that I used daily (what a blessing that was! And when we left I sold it for NZ$80!)

I miss our family that’s there. I miss the fact that our kids only get to see their grandparents twice a year. But I’m so glad that they see them that often.

What don’t I miss? The houses that aren’t insulated well and I don’t miss the lack of central heating! I don’t miss having to pay NZ$80 for a pair of jeans and NZ$13for a pack of 25 diapers. Paying out the nose for produce out of season.

Well, that’s enough of that. The kids are awake, another day has started. God has us here and I do like it here. But part of my heart will always be in New Zealand. Just in case, though, I better renew a few passports!

And I think for breakfast I’ll make a bacon and egg pie :)

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29th May 2009

Things are heating up

Summer is upon us. Temperatures hit 103F yesterday, which is very hot. I was away for most of the day and set the inside temp at 82 so it wasn’t running unnecessarily. I’m glad I did because with temperatures that hot my house would have been much hotter than 82. Upon returning home I immediately turned it down and the a/c ran for most of the evening.

With the rising temperatures comes a complete clearing of my calendar. All of our normal weekly activities have ceased for the summer to be replaced by things like “Swim at friend’s house”, “BBQ at friend’s house” “Friend coming over”. I love the summer. Although I think spring is far too short here and I’m having a heck of a time trying to learn how to grow vegetables in this kind of heat. But with summer comes freedom. Long days allow us to spend together outside as a family after Handsome comes home. We swim often, play around together, eat simpler foods.

Summer is good. Now if I can just manage to not melt the ice cream on the way home from the store.

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22nd May 2009

My little secret

Remember how I started reading a book at the library in Laguna Beach a few weeks ago and didn’t want to put it down? I immediately requested it from my library and was way down on the list. I just couldn’t wait! So I reverted to a trick I learned while in college.

Do you wanna know what I did?

Can you keep a secret?

Back when I was in college if there was a book that I wanted to read I would go to Walmart and find it and then sit in the pharmacy for an hour or two and read as much as I could then put it back on the shelf. I’d come back a week later or whatever and read some more and continue to do that until I had finished the book.

So… the last few weeks I’ve made a few trips to Target and would just happen to mosey by the book section and  read a few more chapters. But just yesterday I was notified that the book was available for me to pick up at the library!! Yippee! So I picked it up this afternoon and started reading about 5pm and I finished it just a few minutes ago. I knew I would stay up as long as I needed to in order to finish it or else I’d be absolutely useless for the rest of the weekend.

Tomorrow I will return it so that some other person on the waiting list can be put out of their misery.

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14th May 2009

Handsome’s favourite commercial

For those of you that don’t know me in real life, my husband is an IT guy. He’s geeky, but in a cute sort of way. He loves this commercial! Like, really loves it.

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8th May 2009

Meeting the neighbours

**I thought I had already posted this. Originally written on Tuesday.

After all the fuss on Monday night about Precious not being able to go out and play with the kids down the street, we spent an hour outside with them last night. We had taken the dog for a walk and as we passed by the neighbours’ house we noticed all their toys and stuff outside, including a chair and a pair of shoes, so we knew they’d be back. As we were walking home we saw that they were outside playing again and Precious asked if she could play. I said no problem and she ran up to the girls and announced “I’m here!”

Their family has five kids and our family has three kids. But there were also three girls that live down the street that came out to play too so it was quite a crowd. The neighbour girls were very inclusive of Precious even though she is the youngest one. She had a really wonderful time.

Handsome was talking with the dad while he threw balls to his son. I talked with the mom and we both looked after our youngest ones. At one point I was talking to their neighbour about the new roses that he planted and we discussed a juniper bush that he wanted to plant (I hate junipers so I really hope he doesn’t put it right in front!)

At one point the girls started riding scooters up and down the street. Precious isn’t veyr proficient on a scooter, but boy did she try! She seriously lagged behind but she didn’t give up. She just kept scooting and scooting. By the time she was finished her face was bright red and she had some scrapes on her legs, but she was so happy.

The whole time this was going on I was so worried for her. Not that she would physically hurt herself but that she would be emotionally hurt. I remember so well what it’s like to be the odd one out, to not fit in, to want to be cool. If there is something I can do to help my kids not feel that way I want to do it. But of course they also need to learn that being cool doesn’t determine success or happiness. But when you’re a kid it sure does make a difference.

So we ended the night very sweaty and smelly but the kids were so happy. I’m always glad to get to know the neighbours more. It’s important for my kids to have other friends outside of our family. And with every person I meet I think “I wonder if they know Jesus?” I think it might be time for a block party.

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8th May 2009

My kids

I want to write for posterity’s sake, rather than for general public consumption. But you can read over my shoulder if you wish :)

I have three children, ages 5.5, 3.5, and 2. And I am so totally in love with my kids. It’s a lot of work to be their mommy. There have been periods of time when I wasn’t exactly excited to be around them all the time and actually dreaded spending another day wiping snotty noses, dirty bums, and handing out a million drinks of water.

But things are changing. My children are changing.

Precious, my oldest daughter, has made friends with some kids down the street and they have loaned her a scooter. Every day, nearly every moment, she wants to be on that scooter, practicing so she can keep up with the big kids. She keeps asking me when she can get a scooter of her own. Yesterday she asked if she could go down the street to play with the other kids. We could see that they weren’t outside but the mom had said she can always come and knock on the door and ask to play. I thought about it for a moment and realised that she could go down there by herself. I wrote a note to the mom and sent her off. I stood on the front lawn and watched her. She asked permission to cross the street first, after she knew it was safe. Then she scootered her way down the street, very serious about this new responsibility. A few minutes later she scootered back, after very successfully crossing the road, to tell me that the mom wasn’t home but the older brother would come get her when mom got home.

She was over the moon. I had let her go down all by herself. The whole time I watched her I was thinking - my little girl is growing up! She’s almost finished with kindergarten. She’s learning how to flip pancakes. She can sew buttons. She says hello to everyone she sees. She’s polite and respectful. She is so repentant when the Holy Spirit convicts her of her sin. She reads fluently. She is a pleasure to be with (most of the time). I love my Precious.

Cutie, the 3.5yo, is also changing. She’s getting taller. She can reach the water in the refrigerator door. She’s losing the super chubby legs she’s had since she was 4 weeks old.  She’s fantastic at sharing everything she has. She’s so empathetic toward other peoples’ pain. She is a little prayer warrior. She’s learning to read basic three letter words. She can write the first two letters of her name. She wakes up in the morning with a thousand questions, all before 7am. She is so proud that she now has her own real Bible, not just a Bible storybook. And she’s the best snuggler.

Then there is Little Boy, my 2yo. He got his first real haircut today - a buzz cut given by a friend of mine. He’s always got a twinkle in his eye and I have to stay on top of him to make sure he’s learning what it means to obey the first time. The other day he captured a small spider and just held two of its legs and watched for several minutes while it squirmed. I found him in the corner of the vegetable garden, throwing snails down and smashing them with his bare feet. He loves asparagus and cheese. He speaks more in sign language than with real words but that’s slowly changing. He is still using a pacifier at nights and sometime will sneak back in his room during the day and get it. He’ll come back into the living room, walking backwards so I can’t see it in his mouth, giggling the whole time so I can’t help but notice him.

I love my kids. I am blessed to have them in my life. I hope I have many more stories to tell in the future.

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4th May 2009

Just call me Mean Mommy

This evening, right before bedtime, I had to do something that I knew was going to disappoint Precious, my 5 yo. Earlier in the day she had balked at finishing her math work because it was a little on the difficult side. Instead of pushing her I said she’d have to finish it later. Later ended up being right before bed. So we were sitting at the school table while she finished it up. She discovered it wasn’t any easier :)

While we worked a couple of girls that live down the street rode past on their scooters. They are sisters, aged about 7 and 9. Precious has been getting to know them. A neat family, also homeschoolers and Christians too. But because they have a larger family with older kids, their schedule is quite different from ours. Our kids go to bed around 7:30 whereas these kids are in bed after 8. When Precious saw them ride past she got excited and asked if she could go out and play. I said no, she needed to finish her work. Normally I’m not really that strict but we’re trying to buckle down because we’re seeing a pattern of laziness develop that we’re hoping to nip in the bud. She started furiously trying to finish it up, making a lot more mistakes, because she thought she’d be able to go outside if she was done.

I explained to her that we weren’t playing outside tonight. I also explained that she needs to understand that when Mommy says it’s time to do schoolwork in the morning, then she needs to do it. She made a choice and she is reaping the consequences. Because if she had finished her work earlier in the day I probably wouldn’t have had a problem with her playing outside for a short time with her friends.

So. She cried a lot of tears but I believe she understands. At bedtime I prayed with her and talked to her and she still thinks I’m the best mommy.

But inside my head I’m hearing a little voice saying “Mean mommy, mean mommy!” I don’t suppose that ever goes away, huh?

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3rd May 2009

It always pays to ask

Those of you that live in Northern/Central California are probably aware that Longs Drugs was bought out by CVS. The takeover came into effect in March and they’ve been slowly moving over. I noticed today in the ad included with the Sunday paper that they actually included a CVS ad, rather than the standard Longs ad. It’s still not the normal national ad, but it’s still a CVS ad. I’ve been highly anticipating this because CVS has some rockin’ deals. I signed up for their loyalty card several weeks ago in preparation for the changeover. When Handsome and I went to So. Cal a few weeks ago I was able to use it because there was a CVS across the street from our hotel.

Today I was able to make a trip to our local store and I walked away a very happy customer. They had select Kellogg’s cereals on sale for $1.88, which on its own is very good. But I had $1 off coupons, making each box only 88 cents which is pretty darn good. I also needed to buy a few other things so I picked those up.

When I walked into the store I noticed that they had canned pumpkin on clearance for $1.20 a can. For anyone that pays attention to prices, this isn’t really much of a deal. During the Christmas season it’s often found for $1 a can. I’ve been wanting to buy some but I just hate to pay full price. I’ve always known that it never hurts to ask if they’ll lower the price, even if it’s a chain store like CVS. I figured it was a clearanced item that they wanted to get rid of. I offered to pay 50 cents a can and said that I’d buy 20 cans. The sales associate called her supervisor, who then talked to the asst manager who then called the store manager! The answer came back yes. So I was able to get a very good deal on a product that will last until 2011. But to make it even sweeter I got a $3 off $15 purchase coupon from the CVS coupon printer inside the store, so I received an additional $3 off my purchase.

So, have a look at your local Longs/CVS store. Many good deals to be had. And much smaller than Target or Walmart so it’s easy to get in and out.

And sorry for the poor writing - I’m not editing because I need to get to bed so I can get to the gym in the morning. It’s long overdue.

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