I love my children

Last night we met Brian & April for dinner in St. Cloud, which was long overdue and very fun. My mom brought the girls back here and put them to bed, and Ella said, "Grandma, thank you for staying with us until Mom & Dad get home." She's such a four-year-old. I love that.
Here's my help request of the day: Looking for a cute, reasonably priced bigger backpack for Ella for preschool. I like having one that's personalized so there are no mixups. Any ideas? Right now I'm thinking potterybarnkids.com, lillionvernon.com, landsend.com or llbean.com



Friday: God is in charge. Wahoo!
The end of the week is tough. The kids seem to get more wired everyday, and the adults look more weary. All in all, I think it went well for everyone. Ella had a really great time, and I had fun helping out. They sang in church on Sunday, and did a great job.

Work: Rough day yesterday. I misspelled the name of customer that got printed on $21,000 worth of products. It was a $30 mistake for me, but quite a lot more for my sales rep. Still feeling slightly nauseous about that, but I am assured by my other reps that these things happen.

Friends: Say a prayer for my friend Natalie. She's taking the bar today through Thursday.

Books: I've now read three of Donald Miller's books. Just finished "Through Painted Deserts." I love his writing style, and I'm looking at my relationship with God and the world around me in a new way. Now I'm reading "They Love Jesus but Hate the Church" by Dan Kimball. I saw him speak at Willow Creek about the emerging generation, and their views on "church", and it was really eye opening. The book is proving to be very good so far. It's a new way of looking at things for me. Highly recommended.

Kids: (might as well skip this part if you don't have any, because you won't care to hear this) In the past 24 hours Natalie has used the potty 4 times, even pooped once. Very exciting! Every package of diapers may be my last. She worries me more than Ella. Ella we just said it was time to use the potty, and she did. Natalie is STUBBORN. She goes if it's her idea, but you can't suggest it without a knock down drag out fight. We're trying to pick our battles with her. Right now we're focusing more on the potty since she's showing some interest. At some point we also need to get rid of "Gee" (pronounced with a hard G, it's the blanket) and the thumb sucking. They seem to go together, so it's going to be either very easy or a huge problem.

Online: www.jellybellyoutlet.com You can buy Belly Flops for half the price of regular Jelly Bellies. I got a couple of bags, and it was fun. Some of them are two beans stuck together, some are missing the Jelly Belly stamp, some are just misshapen. I didn't run into this, but I guess they may also be misflavored. I found the Flops to be a fun adventure. I'd do it again.


Wahoo!! It's a wild ride!

That's right, it's Vacation Bible School week. Ella is going for the first time, and just loving it. Natalie's been enjoying the nursery, and I've been trying to make myself look busy enough about the church that I don't end up with a group of preschoolers, but I'm still helpful. 108 preschoolers, 113 elementary age. Here's what I've been learning at Avalanche Ranch this week:

Monday: God is real. Wahoo!! "The Lord is the one true God."
Sometimes kids pay more attention when the adults leave.

Tuesday: God is with us. Wahoo!! "For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
250 kids in one room is a lot of kids. Have you ever noticed that large groups of people, including kids, sound really great when they sing together, no matter who is in the group or what singing abilities they may have? I love that. When we all sing the same song to God, it sounds beautiful no matter what.

Wednesday: God is strong. Wahoo!! "The Lord is my Strength."
The treats are down in the kitchen. Kids get a treat of the day, but helpers get a wide assortment of yummy cookies, cakes, donuts, etc. It's like a secret place with secret snacks!! Wish I would have learned that on Monday.

Thursday: God is awesome. Wahoo!! "The Lord Most High is awesome."
Give kids an open space, and they will run with wild abandon. Before all the kids get there to sing, the early birds (or really the on-time birds, the rest are very late) tend to just run. They knock over signs, they knock over each other. I must remind myself that they are kids, and having fun. VBS for me growing up was sitting quietly in my very small group and listening to the teacher. I saw something very cool this morning though, we had a crew without a crewleader (yikes!!), and the second it was announced one of our teenage helpers hopped right over and jumped in. I didn't catch who she was, but I think she'll be someone to watch. That showed an awful lot of initiative in an age that often can't travel without a friend.

It's been really fun to get the girls out of the house, and to be a little involved in what's going on. It's fun to know what Ella's learning so we can talk about it together. We've also been enjoying singing the songs together.

Let's see what Friday brings!


Things I hope they remember

Someday when the girls have grown into adults (yikes), I hope they remember things like this:
Sometimes when we get ready for bed, we go into Natalie's room, and we all sit on the floor in the almost dark, and we take turns singing songs. It's usually Ella's turn first. She will make up a VERY long song about her happy feet ("They like to hide in my socks and shoes..."), or about her day ("...and I love everyone, like my mom...and dad... and Natalie"), and at some point the rhythm gets her and she stands up to do a little lyrical dance. Ella seems most moved by the contemporary style (or at least that's what we've learned watching So You Think You Can Dance). Then Natalie will take a turn (sometimes delayed by Meow Meow's turn), and then Mommy, and then Daddy. Sometimes Natalie sings a song she knows, and she's starting to know quite a few. Sometimes she'll make one up. I will always sing a song I know, which Ella will question. "Is Jesus Loves Me really a lullaby Mom?" Brennan will make up a fabulous song about two little girls going to bed, and sleeping all night. Those are the nights when I feel like I know what it means to have a full heart.